Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has had enough. He wants round-the-clock bargaining to end the six-day-old strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, with the help of a mediator.
The strike has pitted the 800-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit against some of the world’s biggest shipping lines and terminal operators. It has shut down 10 of the 14 cargo container terminals at the nation’s busiest seaport complex.
Until it launched the strike Tuesday, the union had been working without a contract since June 30, 2010. Although talks intensified over the weekend, there have also been periods of little or no negotiations, the mayor said.
“This cannot continue,” Villaraigosa said in the terse, three-paragraph communication to John Fageaux Jr., president of the union’s clerical unit, and Stephen L. Berry, chief negotiator for the employers group.
“With thousands of members of other ILWU locals now honoring picket lines,” the strike is “costing our local economy billions of dollars. The cost is too great to continue down this failed path,” the mayor said.
The mayor added, “Mediation is essential and every available hour must be used.”