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LA mayor urges dockworkers, employers to end port strike

Clerical workers have walked off the job in a crippling strike at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

December 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is urging clerical workers and shippers to end a strike at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The mayor issued a statement Sunday asking both parties to bargain around the clock with help from a mediator, saying the strike is crippling the local economy. Los Angeles and Long Beach handle 40 percent of the nation's import trade. According to Villaraigosa, the strike is costing the economy billions.

"The cost is too great to continue down this failed path. Mediation is essential and every available hour must be used," Villaraigosa said in his letter.

The estimated nationwide impact of the strike was $15 billion. Some 600,000 workers are employed directly and indirectly in the shipping industry in Southern California.

Contract talks between both sides continued through the weekend. The clerical workers want a new contract and claim management has been outsourcing their well-paid jobs The Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association denies that allegation.

Workers intend to continue picketing until a contract is reached. Truck drivers and other unions are honoring the picket lines.

The strike is the largest work stoppage at the ports since shipping companies locked workers out for 10 days in 2002.