News / USA

Labor Dispute at Key US Cargo Port Enters Week 2

The Maersk cargo terminal, where container-handling cranes are in the up and idle position, is seen at the Port of Los Angeles, Nov. 29, 2012. Cargo ships were stacking up at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as a strike by about about 70 clerical workers shut down most terminals that together are the nation's busiest port complex.
The Maersk cargo terminal, where container-handling cranes are in the up and idle position, is seen at the Port of Los Angeles, Nov. 29, 2012. Cargo ships were stacking up at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as a strike by about about 70 clerical workers shut down most terminals that together are the nation's busiest port complex.
VOA News
Negotiations to end a strike at the biggest cargo port complex in the United States are continuing Tuesday, as the dispute enters its second week.

Unionized clerical workers at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports in California walked off the job last Tuesday, claiming that shippers who operate out of the twin ports want to outsource jobs overseas. The group representing the shippers and terminal operators say they merely want the right to hire the people they need.

Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield told VOA that port officials hope the two sides can reach an agreement on Tuesday. He says the strike has shut down seven of eight Los Angeles shipping terminals.
 
"It's essentially shut down the port of L.A., which is the nation's largest container port for our container operations," he said. "And next door at the port of Long Beach, three of their six container terminals are operating, so this has had a huge impact on the importing and exporting of goods through the Western U.S."

About 40 percent of all goods shipped to the U.S. come through Los Angeles and Long Beach, averaging $1 billion in trade a day.

Sanfield says the two ports' top imports include furniture and automobile parts, as well as electronics, clothing, shoes and toys - items that make up a large part of retailers' holiday shopping sales.

Sanfield says most of the cargo comes through Asia, with China and Hong Kong as the Los Angeles port's primary trading partners, followed by Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. He says a smaller percentage of goods is routed through India, Central America and Northern Europe.

The now eight-day strike has idled some ships off the California coast, while forcing others to divert their cargo to other ports in California, Mexico and Panama.

The 800 clerical workers on strike have been joined by about 10,000 unionized dockworkers who have refused to cross the picket lines to load and unload cargo.  Hundreds of independent truck drivers who haul goods to and from the ports have also been idled by the dispute.  

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has demanded the two sides bring in a mediator and work nonstop until the dispute is settled.

The National Retail Federation, meanwhile, is urging President Barack Obama to intervene, warning that a prolonged strike could harm the still-fragile U.S. economy.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More