California Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein today joined a growing chorus of concern over the status of long stalled labor contract negotiations at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
More than two years have passed since the last contract expired between the small Office Clerical Unit of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 and 14 shipping lines and cargo terminal operators at the nation’s busiest seaport complex. Both sides remain far apart and there are fears that a breakdown in talks could lead to a partial or complete shutdown of work at both ports.
The possibility of the latter is why the senators felt it was necessary to weigh in, according to the letter they sent to the union president, John Fageaux Jr., and Stephen Berry, the lead negotiator for the employers.
“With the fragile state of California’s economy and growing competition from other U.S. ports,” the Boxer/Feinstein letter said, “it is essential that both parties reach an agreement that will protect these important jobs and allow the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to continue operating without disruption.”