Los Angeles, Long Beach ports disrupted as contract negotiations stalled

Port workers in Southern California disrupted cargo activity Friday at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – key entry points for the country’s imports – after contract talks soured in recent days.

The Pacific Maritime Assn., which represents shipping lines and port terminal operators, said the International Longshore and Warehouse Union “is staging concerted and disruptive industrial action that has effectively halted operations” at several terminals in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Tacoma and Seattle.

The union held stoppage of work meetings on Thursday evening, and on Friday members either did not show up for work or staged individual work stoppages. The combination snarled traffic at the ports, forcing some terminals to close.

Spokesmen for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach said late Friday that the ports were operating despite labor shortages.

The powerful union̵[ads1]7;s latest industrial action is the boldest yet to affect contract negotiations that began more than a year ago. More than 22,000 dock workers and 29 West Coast ports have been working without a contract since July 1.

ILWU Local 13 said about 12,000 members in Southern California have “taken it upon themselves to voice their dissatisfaction with the position of ocean carriers and terminal operators.”

In April, local dockworkers forced a roughly 24-hour shutdown at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, fueling fears that failures in high-stakes labor negotiations could lead to a crippling impasse like the one in 2012.

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