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Clerical workers at LA & LB Ports draw the line on outsourcing by big corporations

Port workers may strike big carriers to stop the outsourcing of good jobs

San Pedro, CA – Eight-hundred office and clerical workers employed by international carriers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have decided to strike if companies continue outsourcing good-paying jobs that are critical to the Harbor- area community.

“The big companies are refusing to admit the problem that outsourcing causes for the Harbor Community that depends on these good jobs,” said Ray Familathe, ILWU Vice President-Mainland. “People have run out of patience.”

“We’ve been patiently negotiating with these big companies for the past 30 months, but they’re refusing to respect our community and want to keep outsourcing good jobs – so we’re drawing the line and standing-up for the community,” said Trinie Thompson, a longtime clerical worker employed by American President Lines who participated in the negotiations. “Harbor area families depend on these jobs and the community can’t afford to have them outsourced.”

Over 51 permanent positions that benefit the Harbor community have been lost in recent years because of outsourcing to diverse locations including Costa Rica and Dallas, Texas. The companies have been reluctant to admit their outsourcing strategy, but workers have obtained documents and other information that confirm the practice.

The dispute isn’t over pay and benefits, which both workers and the companies agree are excellent. Workers say that outsourcing – if unchecked – will eventually destroy the Harbor area’s best-paying blue-collar jobs that would be impossible to replace, especially for women

The companies involved are profitable international shipping carriers and terminal operators who admit they’re financially healthy and profitable. During negotiations the companies admitted they can afford to keep the good-paying jobs but choose not to.

“It just comes down to corporate greed,” said Darlene Zuvich, who has processed bills and other record-keeping tasks for Evergreen America Corporation since 1992. “These companies have the same attitude as the ones on Wall Street – they think they’re better than the rest of us and can’t be worried about the problems that families face in this community. That’s why we’re drawing the line and why we’ve decided to take a stand for every family in the Harbor community.”

– ILWU news release

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