LOS ANGELES — Negotiators returned to the bargaining table Monday as a strike that has crippled operations at the nation’s largest port complex entered its seventh day.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa demanded that both sides meet nonstop until they reach an agreement.
“It seems like progress is being made,” union spokesman Craig Merrilees said after negotiations resumed. “It’s not quick and it’s not easy, but there is some progress.”
Management spokesman Steve Getzug was less optimistic, saying union negotiators were resisting proposed changes in future hiring practices that he said would give shippers the ability to avoid hiring unneeded employees. It’s a practice management dismisses as featherbedding.
“Rather than having artificial staffing levels, we’re saying give us the ability to make decisions based on need, and we think that’s a reasonable request,” Getzug said.
Union members counter that the issue involves management’s desire to outsource jobs to places such as Taiwan and China, where shippers can pay lower wages for work that can be done on computer.