Dock Clerks in California and Employers Strike a Deal

The dock clerks of the United States' biggest port complex came to a tentative agreement with their employers regarding a new employment contract on Thursday. Even if it was just provisional, the contract had served as a measure to prevent a strike to occur. If the employee's had staged a strike due to dead end in negotiations, it could have caused such crippling effects on the nation's shipping activities. If a strike would happen on this principal port, billions of dollars would be lost, according to a negotiator in the agreement.

Los Angeles, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 08/17/2007 -- Steve Berry, member of the negotiating panel representing the shippers said that the employers were gratified that the port workers' union acknowledged the sizeable investment made by the employers. Consequently, this became a major reason for their acceptance of the employers' final wage proposal.

The local union's president, John Fageaux Jr., seconded this statement of Berry. He signified his satisfaction of the agreement that is still open to further considerations.

A news conference was held with port workers present. They cheered and clapped as indication of their approval to the initial agreements reached by the two negotiating parties.

In this same conference, Fageaux gave a brief recall about the past days when they had practically negotiated non-stop with the panel of their employers. Those talks have almost ended without both parties reaching a sort of compromise. Earlier, the union of port clerks has threatened their employers of going on strike by July 16 if the negotiations failed to reach a deal of sorts.

According to Fageaux, they were prepared for the strike have it came to that point. However, the negotiations continued even after the union's deadline.

The provisional agreement reached by the two parties applies only to about 600 full time and 850 part-time workers' contracts in 14 companies.

On their previous contract that expired on June 30, the full-time port clerks were given around $37.50 per hour or $78,000 per year. Included in the package is 20 holidays with pay every year, benefits for health care that does not include premiums and pension.

The conditions of the provisional deal reached on Thursday were a grant of 7% increase in wage throughout the three years contract. An agreement has also been reached for the employers to provide payment of $3.4 million, which will give way for a workers' trust fund to be established. This trust fund will manage the pension, health and welfare plans.

Aside from the raise, the port clerks were also granted with the permit of monitoring whether or not their company is outsourcing the particular duties in their job description.

Fageaux stated that he was expecting the members of the union to cast their votes on he tentative agreement on the following week. Fageaux recognized the fact that both of the negotiating parties fought hard for each of their positions but came to recognize each other's positions and needs.

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