May 24, 2024

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Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were disrupted by stalled contract talks

Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were disrupted by stalled contract talks

Southern California dockworkers disrupted shipping activity on Friday at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — the main entry points for the country’s imports — as well as at some other West Coast ports after contract talks deteriorated in recent days.

Pacific Maritime Assn. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents shipping companies and port terminal operators, “organized a concerted and disruptive business action that effectively shut down operations” at several terminals in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma, Wash.

union contract Work stop meetings Thursday eveningAnd on Friday, the members either didn’t show up to work or slowed down solo work. This combination complicated port traffic, forcing some stations to close.

Spokespersons for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which combine to form the nation’s largest shipping complex, said late Friday that the ports are operating despite a labor shortage. A Port of Auckland spokesperson said freight operations had been halted because there were not enough dockers to handle containers, and normal operations were not expected to resume until Monday.

“While we continue to monitor terminal activity, we urge the PMA and the International Water Union to continue negotiating in good faith in order to reach a fair agreement,” Mario Cordero, executive director of the Port of Long Beach, said in a statement.

Although the labor unrest was temporary, it highlights a high-stakes dance between wealthy shipping companies and a powerful labor union, with ramifications for Southern California’s 175,000 workers – employed in the ports themselves as well as in related businesses – transporting goods worth $469 billion. General, the port data appears.

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The union’s latest action is its boldest yet to influence contract negotiations, which focus primarily on wages afterwards Reach a preliminary agreement About the role of automation. More than 22,000 dock workers at 29 West Coast ports have been working without a contract since July 1.

ILWU Local 13, which represents dockworkers in Southern California, said about 12,000 of its members have “taken it upon themselves to voice their discontent with the attitude of ocean carriers and terminal operators.”

In April, dockworkers imposed nearly 24-hour closures at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, exacerbating fears that failed contract negotiations could lead to a deadlock like the one in 2002, when President Bush intervened to end an 11-hour shutdown. The daily employer for West Coast longshoremen.

Previous Month , Pacific Marine Assn. complained, The guild members started taking their meal breaks all at the same time, instead of savoring them. The employers’ group described it as a “work measure”.

The two Southern California ports handle nearly 40% of US cargo container imports from Asia.

Negotiations are still ongoing, Willie Adams, International President of the International Media Federation, said in a statement.

“We’re getting there, but it’s important to understand that West Coast dockworkers kept the economy going during the pandemic and lost their lives in the process. We will not settle for an economic package that doesn’t recognize the heroic efforts and personal sacrifices of the ILWU workforce that lifted the industry,” Adams said. Shipping to record profits.

Experts say the uncertainty over contracts at West Coast ports has a long-term impact.

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As labor negotiations drag on and union members take job action, some nervous retailers and manufacturers have rerouted goods, causing imports and exports to drop through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in recent months.

“When you have cyclical disruptions, that will discourage shippers from using Oakland, Tacoma, Long Beach. It will be very difficult for ports to convince shippers that these ports will be reliable gateways to international trade,” said Jock O’Connell, international trade economist at Beacon Economics.

Ports on the West Coast, which have historically had a geographic advantage due to their proximity to Asia, are increasingly competing with others such as the Panama Canal and along the Gulf of Mexico for imports and exports across the Pacific.

“An event like today reminds shippers that shipping up the West Coast is riskier even though it takes longer,” O’Connell said. “This will affect revenue and jobs locally.”

Retail group on Friday Urge a quick solution.

“Our country’s West Coast ports are an important link in the retail supply chain. Any outage or interruption in their immediate operations has a ripple effect that hinders retailers’ ability to deliver quickly and efficiently to American consumers,” said Jessica Dankert, Vice President of Supply Chain for Retail Industry Leaders Assn. .