President Barack Obama joined a number of affected organizations and top local officials Monday in urging the two bargaining parties in the ongoing clerical-workers strike at the port of Los Angeles and Long Beach to come to an agreement as quickly as possible.
“I can just tell you that we—and that includes the president—continue to monitor the situation in Los Angeles closely and urge the parties to continue their work at the negotiating table to get a deal done as quickly as possible,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters when asked about the strike during a White House press briefing.
An association representing more than 9,100 retail companies last week urged Obama to intervene on the strike, which is also being honored by the ILWU’s 10,000 members. The National Retail Federation’s letter also noted that Obama has the power to order the unions back to work under the Taft-Hartley Act with a temporary injunction that would declare an 80-day “cooling off period,” a tactic used last by George W. Bush in 2002 to force longshoremen back to work after a 10-day lockout that closed 29 West Coast ports.
Local 63 OCU President John Fageaux called the status of negotiations “discouraging.” Fageaux said the the union had offered substantial concessions to achieve a deal during negotiations in recent days, but said the Harbor Employers Association, which represents 14 shipping companies, had not budged from its position.