Ship Pilots End Walkout That Crippled Port
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Harbor pilots at the Port of Los Angeles on Sunday ended a two-day walkout that had crippled the nation’s second-busiest port, agreeing to a settlement that left open the possibility of more talks.
The pact between the city Harbor Department and representatives of the 11- member pilots union contains no salary agreement, but scheduled a meeting Tuesday on wages, said port spokeswoman Julia Nagano.
″The pickets are being pulled and the pilots are returning to work,″ she said.
She added that no retribution would be taken against the pilots.
The pilots went on strike Saturday to protest what they called perilous working conditions that could cause a worse oil spill than the one off Huntington Beach on Wednesday that continued threatening the Southern California coast.
They also had demanded a 50 percent pay increase, port officials said.
Only one ship steered out of the port earlier Sunday as dockworkers honored pilots’ picket lines, with management handling pilot duties. Another ship cancelled plans to do leave, while four others were moored inside or outside the port’s breakwater, awaiting berthing.
Under the agreement, the Harbor Department said it would allow pilots to refuse to perform a ship maneuver if they feel it is unsafe, said Wallace Knox, attorney for Local 68 of the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots.
The pilots had argued that port authorities were using overworked, undertrained personnel.
Pilots also had argued that they were making 50 percent less than their colleagues nationwide. They had sought to eliminate the difference over a period of years, Knox said.
The city had offered a 4 percent, one-year raise.
Officials from the Harbor Department were not available Sunday night to comment on the terms of the agreement.
When both sides meet Tuesday, representatives of the dockworkers’ union and the shipping industry’s Pacific Maritime Association will be on hand as observers, Knox said.
The pilots’ walkout was the first strike at the port since the 1970s, when a dockworkers’ walkout shut down the port for more than a week.
The port occupies more than 7,500 acres, making it one of the world’s largest manmade harbors. It handled more than 2 million cargo containers last year, making it the second-busiest port in the United States behind New York- New Jersey.