A group of 750 clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach agreed Friday to return to the bargaining table. The clerks handle paperwork for importing and exporting goods at the two ports and have been negotiating over job security and pay increases since April.
John Fageaux, president of the Local 63 Office Clerical Unit of the Marine Clerks Assn., said the two sides were close to an agreement.
"We are making progress.... I'm pretty confident we are going to reach an agreement sometime this evening," he said.
The clerks had vowed to walk off the job after midnight Friday unless they reached an agreement on a new contract with the 16 shipping companies that employ them.
The workers are loosely affiliated with the International Longshore Workers Union, and have its support.
Separately, the ILWU has been negotiating this week to increase the number of longshoremen and nonunion part-time workers to fill a shortage of crews at the two ports.