Dockworker lockout averted

| 9/20/2002

A threatened lockout at the nation's busiest port complex was averted Thursday after dock operations were fully staffed at the end of a week in which most activity had been frozen.

Representatives of employers at West Coast ports said they would shut down cargo terminals Friday, leaving as many as 5,000 workers without pay and millions of dollars of cargo on the docks because of what management called a union slowdown.

But Thursday night, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union provided enough workers to unload ships at the docks in Long Beach, the Pacific Maritime Association said.

The PMA, which represents 87 shipping companies and terminal operations, said it would suspend its planned shutdown of the Los Angeles and Long Beach port complex as long as operations continue at normal levels.

The association had accused the union of withholding labor from Stevedoring Services' terminal since Monday, leaving thousands of containers unloaded and causing a traffic jam of trucks outside the complex.

The ILWU, which represents the 10,500 full-time West Coast dockworkers, denied Thursday it had engaged in any slowdown. The union contract expired July 1.