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Labor's Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement

Striking SoCal Port Clerical Workers Win Outsourcing Controls in Tentative Pact

by Mike Hall, AFL-CIO

Some 450 office clerical workers—members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 63—are back on the job this morning in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., after the ILWU and port employers reached a tentative agreement Tuesday night that will prevent the outsourcing of jobs. 

ILWU International President Robert McEllrath said the unity and solidarity of the workers, members, their families and thousands of community supporters played a major role in the workers’ win. When the workers struck Nov. 27, ILWU dockworkers and other port workers refused to cross the picket lines.

This victory was accomplished because of support from the entire ILWU family of 10,000 members in the harbor community.

The key elements in the tentative agreement are new protections that will help prevent jobs from being outsourced to Texas, Taiwan and beyond. Union spokesman Craig Merrilees said:

Really, it was getting control on the outsourcing...ensuring that the jobs are here today, tomorrow and for the future.

The port workers had been without contract for more than two years and employers were threatening to outsource jobs from the nation’s busiest port complex—some 40 percent of all containerized cargo is handled in the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.

Details of the agreement that still must be ratified have not been released, but news reports say it is a six-year deal that is retroactive to June 30, 2010.

The workers don't have ordinary clerk and secretarial jobs. The Los Angeles Times describes them as “logistics experts who process a massive flow of information on the content of ships' cargo containers and their destinations….They are responsible for booking cargo, filing customs documentation and monitoring and tracking cargo movements.”

Posted on 12/05/2012Permalink

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Reader Discussion

Hooray for the Port Clerical Workers.  Thanks for standing up to the economic traitors who continue to outsource jobs and factories from this country.  Someday the unions will regain enough strength to outsource the bums who have perpetuated this economic treason. These workers have set a fine example of what organized labor can accomplish.

at 5:41 pm on Fri, Dec 7, 2012Posted by James Pratt

Hi International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) I love you and what you stand for in protecting the rights of our workers and securing a decent standard of living for everyone in our country.
I need help Unionizing…...

at 12:46 am on Sat, Dec 8, 2012Posted by Geri Marshall

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