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LA, Long Beach Port Workers On Strike To Resume Talks With Employers

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The parties involved in a three-day strike that has crippled activity at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach agreed to resume talks Thursday evening.

Stephen Berry, the lead negotiator the Harbor Employers Association, which represents 14 shipping companies, confirmed the two sides are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa personally spoke to representatives from labor and negotiators for the shipping companies earlier Thursday from Brazil, where he is on a trade mission, and urged both sides to go back to the table.

The strike began at the Port of Los Angeles’ busiest terminal and spread to six other terminals and the port of Long Beach Wednesday.

Longshore clerks, who work at the APM’s Terminal on the Port of Los Angeles’ Pier 400, defied an arbitrator’s ruling that they return to work Thursday morning after they walked off the job.

The union, which has been without a contract since June 2010, expanded its pickets to 10 of the 14 terminals at the Port, which handles an estimated 40 percent of all U.S. imports.

Stephen Berry, the lead negotiator for the L.A./Long Beach Harbor Employer’s Association, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO that the strike could have an major economic impact.

“When the Port’s shut down, that affects jobs here…in Southern California and the nation,” Berry said. “Up to a million jobs could be affected by this.”

Union spokesman Craig Merrillees on Wednesday said the Employers Association has been “quietly shipping jobs offshore” and refuses to address the issue.

Key personnel represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union are honoring the strike.

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