However, there were concerns that a continued widespread strike could prompt retaliation from terminal operators. A bitter 10-day lockout at a number of West Coast ports in 2002 caused an estimated $15 billion in losses.
"Both sides in this dispute understand the critical importance of keeping cargo moving through the San Pedro Bay complex," said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz. "Time is of the essence and we urge a mutually agreeable resolution as soon as possible so that we can return to full operations."
At issue is the union's contention that terminal operators have outsourced local clerical jobs out of state and overseas — an allegation the shippers deny.
Shippers deny outsourcing and have offered lifelong job security to the 600 or so full-time clerical workers, Berry said.
They also have offered to boost average annual pay from $165,000 to $195,000 and grant 11 weeks of paid vacation, he said.
The shippers claim the union wants contract language to permit "featherbedding" — the practice of requiring employers to call in temporary employees and hire new permanent employees even when there is no work to perform