Los Angeles, Long Beach port clerks' contract expires

A contract between 900 clerical workers and shipping companies at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has expired without a new agreement.

Stephen Berry, lead negotiator for the Harbor Employees Association, says the current contract expired at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and there is no extension.

Berry says the shippers rejected the latest proposal received via email from the union late Wednesday, which called for a wage increase of 21 percent over three years.

Berry says the shippers countered with a proposal that includes a 10 percent increase in monthly pension payments and protection from layoffs.

He says he's optimistic the two sides will resume communications later Thursday.

Union spokesman John Fageaux Jr. said Wednesday that his group was prepared to strike if no agreement was reached.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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