LOS ANGELES (AP) — Negotiators for employers and union workers at the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors will resume talks following a third day of a strike that has shut down most of the terminals at the nation's busiest port complex, both sides confirmed Thursday.
Cargo ships had begun stacking up after seven of eight Los Angeles terminals and three of six Long Beach terminals were shuttered because 70 clerical workers went on strike. They were supported by dockworkers from their union who refused to cross their picket line.
The lead negotiator for the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association Stephen Berry said he wrote a letter to the union president Thursday afternoon to invite him back to the negotiating table with no preconditions.
International Longshore and Warehouse Union spokesman Craig Merrilees confirmed a meeting would take place later Thursday to discuss the contract dispute clerical workers and 14 shippers have been locked in for 2½ years.
Representatives for both sides didn't immediately respond to phone messages late Thursday night requesting information on the status of any talks.
By Thursday morning, at least 18 ships docked and inside the adjacent harbors were not being serviced, port spokesmen said.
"Basically, we're not moving cargo in and out here," Los Angeles port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said.
Talks broke off Monday and the workers struck at a single terminal but expanded the picket lines Wednesday, even after an arbitrator ruled the walkout invalid on Tuesday.
Combined, Los Angeles and Long Beach comprise the nation's busiest port complex, handling 40 percent of the nation's import trade.