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Before federal mediators could sit down at the table, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Union (OCU) and the Los Angeles-Long Beach Harbor Employers Association reached an agreement that ended the eight-day work stoppage at the ports.
Union representatives indicated they had reached an agreement that employers would not outsource port jobs. The two sides had been in negotiation for over two years when talks broke down and union workers set up picket lines.
The work stoppage comes at a critical time in the shipping season and had already led to delays and diversions. Retailers were concerned over the disruption to supply chains.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) welcomed the end of the work stoppage. Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF said, “The retail community is pleased to see a settlement of the strike. We are happy both parties came together, with assistance from intermediaries, to reach a new contract agreement. The nation’s largest port facility is now re-opened and operating and will hopefully be able to quickly recover from the shutdown.”
Labor concerns still persist as the East Coast and Gulf Coast ports are locked in mediated negotiations with the International Longshoremen’s Union. Shay added the NRF concerns saying, “Our attention now shifts to the East and Gulf Coast ports, where federal mediators have been locked in prolonged discussions with labor and management for the past two months.”
Shay urged the parties to reach a final agreement before their contract extension ends at the end of December. “Retailers, manufacturers and the rest of the business community cannot afford another shutdown,” he said. “Our economy cannot withstand another port disruption.”