Clerical workers at Southern Calif. ports threaten to strike

About 900 clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are deciding whether to authorize a strike a day before their contract with 14 shipping companies expire.

The union members are scheduled to meet Tuesday night to cast their votes. The threat of a job action comes after negotiations stalled with the companies. Both sides had been meeting since April 19 to reach a new deal by Wednesday when the current contract expires.

The clerical workers are seeking language that prevents employers from outsourcing jobs. Meanwhile the Harbor Employers Association, which represents shipping companies and terminal operators, claim the union has yet to submit a wage proposal.

A possible walkout could disrupt operations at the nation's largest port complex.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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