Union members at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have rejected the terms of contracts reached by their leaders in December following an eight-day strike, according to a spokesman for the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association.
The employees are members of the 800-worker International Longshore and Warehouse Union's Local 63 Office Clerical Unit. Officials with the union could not be reached for comment.
"The harbor employers were formally notified by the union today that in voting on Wednesday night, all 16 OCU bargaining units failed to ratify the Dec. 4 tentative agreements," spokesman Steve Getzug said in a statement.
Earlier published reports Thursday indicated that workers at only three employers - China Shipping, Evergreen and APM Terminals - failed to ratify their new contracts, but Getzug said those were not correct.
In all, striking workers - backed by thousands of other union members who refused to cross picket lines - shut down 10 of the 14 terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach beginning on Nov. 26.
The rejections appear to have caught both sides off guard. When negotiators reached a deal to end the strike late on Dec. 4, officials from both sides said they were pleased with the deal. Publicly and privately, both sides seemed confident the contracts would be quickly ratified by workers at all employers.
What happens next is not exactly clear - the workers could go back on strike - but it is more likely they will work under the terms of expired contracts during the renegotiation process.
As of Thursday afternoon, all operations at the Port of Los Angeles were proceeding normally, spokesman Phillip Sanfield said. He said port officials had not yet been told of the results of the election.
Members of the Clerical Unit, who provide back office and logistics support to most of the major terminal operators, struck in part because they were concerned terminal companies had been quietly shifting jobs to lower-wage workers in other states and countries. Management negotiators denied the accusations and said the new contracts would need to end so-called featherbedding - or providing temporary and permanent jobs to workers even when there was no work to perform.
At the time they announced a deal, officials from both sides said they had reached an adequate resolution to both problems.