Southern Calif. ILWU office workers report progress on contract talks
Negotiations between a local clerical unit of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and shipping companies continued throughout the weekend and union representatives are reporting progress has been made.
A Friday vote by about two-thirds of the 950-member-strong Local 63 Office Clericals Unit of the ILWU authorized union officials to call a strike if negotiations were not settled when their three-year contract ran out at midnight Saturday.
Both sides committed to stay at the table over the weekend, and talks were ongoing late into Sunday night.
The Local 63 OCU represents clerical and office workers for 22 shipping line and terminal facilities in the Long Beach and Los Angeles area. While members of the ILWU and also referred to as clerks, the OCU does not represent the more prominent ILWU dockworkers, who are gearing up for their own contract negotiations early next year.
Local 63 OCU officials reported that they had the backing of the larger 15,000-member union locals that represent dockworkers at the neighboring ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, and that the larger group had agreed to honor OCU picket lines if a strike is called.
John Fageaux Jr., president of the OCU, reported Sunday afternoon to the Associated Press that progress had been made on health and welfare benefits. He said several issues remained, including the union representation on separate trusts for health benefits and employee pensions.
Talks are likely to continue on Monday and Tuesday, but there is no indication if the negotiations would occur over the July 4 holiday.