Office clerical workers in Los Angeles-Long Beach late Wednesday approved a tentative contract that had been negotiated by their officers but was later rejected by several of the union’s bargaining units.
John Fageaux, president of International Longshore and Warehouse Unit Local 63, and Stephen Berry, lead negotiator for the Harbor Employers Association, released a joint statement confirming that the long saga that had been under way since negotiations began in the spring of 2010 had finally reached a successful conclusion.
The agreements approved by 14 OCU bargaining units “are good for workers, good for employers, and most of all, important in ensuring smooth operations at our Southern California ports,” the statement said.
Contract negotiations involving about 600 clerical workers, who process shipping documents for carriers and marine terminal operators, began in April 2010. The contract expired in June 2010, and the office clerical workers continued on the job until Nov. 27, 2012, when they posted pickets at 10 of the 14 container terminals in Los Angeles-Long Beach.
ILWU dockworkers refused to cross the picket lines, shutting down about 70 percent of the cargo-handling capacity at the nation’s largest port complex for eight days. Negotiators signed a tentative contract on Dec. 4 as federal mediators were en route to Los Angeles from Washington for talks.
However, three of the bargaining units voted two weeks ago to reject the agreement. The contract was placed on hold, with those units that had approved the proposed contract doing so conditionally until those that had rejected it came to agreement with employers.
The details of the agreement reached on Wednesday were not released. Cargo handling at the ports during the past two weeks was not affected by the impasse.