West Coast ports could face new strike threat

CBP PhotographFEBRUARY 8, 2013 — The threat of another strike looms over the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Members of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit have voted to reject the tentative labor agreement that ended the eight-day strike that shut ten container terminals late last year.

The LA Times reports that with the tentative agreement rejected, clerical employees will be working under the terms of their expired contract and says that operations at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are continuing as usual.
"It's not clear today what will happen next," the newspaper quotes Steve Getzug, a spokesman for the Harbor Employers Association as saying.

The National Retail Federation today issued the following statement from Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold:

"We are extremely disappointed by this vote and strongly urge the parties to work through their differences without any kind of disruption. Ratification of a contract is needed to give retailers and other industries that rely on these ports the predictability they need to make long-term plans and get back to growing their businesses and creating jobs. The shutdown during the holiday shopping season was more than just a fight between labor and management – it threatened to impact consumers' shopping plans at the most crucial time of the year. We can't afford to see another shutdown. As labor and management work to resolve this situation, uninterrupted operation of the ports should be their top priority. Too many jobs across the country depend on these ports to let any interference with operations be considered an acceptable way of doing business."

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