The Breakdown | Explaining Southern California's economy

LA and Long Beach Ports: Truckers win employee status, quickly vote to join Teamsters

Mike Acosta has driven a truck for Shippers Transport Express for four years.
Brian Watt/KPCC

Days after becoming official employees of their company, rather than independent contractors, port truck drivers for Shippers Transport Express elected to be represented by the Teamsters Union. 

88 out of 111  drivers for the Carson-based logistics company signed union authorization cards, giving Teamsters Local 848 the authority to negotiate their first labor contract.  The election is a major milestone in a years-long campaign by the Teamsters to organize short-haul truckers at U.S. ports. 

That campaign has been waged recently on the picket lines, with labor actions against eight drayage firms at the Ports of LA and Long Beach.  But it has also been fought in the courts and labor enforcement hearings, with lawsuits and complaints challenging the classification of the truckers as "independent contractors."


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Los Angeles loses 2024 Olympics bid to Boston

An overview of the opening ceremony at the Los Angeles Coliseum during the lighting of the Olympic flame of the 1984 Summer Olympics, July 28, 1984.
Steve Powell/Getty Images

The third time won't be the charm for Los Angeles, at least not in 2024.

The United States Olympic Committee has chosen Boston to represent the U.S. among the finalists bidding for rights to host the 2024 Olympics, beating out Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington.

L.A., which hosted the games in 1984 and 1932, wanted to join London as the only other city to host the Summer Olympics three times.

The USOC said its decision came after "a spirited discussion and more than one round of voting."

Finally, Boston received the unanimous endorsement of the USOC’s board of directors, who met at Denver International Airport.

“We’re excited about our plans to submit a bid for the 2024 Games and feel we have an incredibly strong partner in Boston that will work with us to present a compelling bid,” said USOC Chairman Larry Probst in a written statement. “We’re grateful to the leaders in each of the four cities for their partnership and interest in hosting the most exciting sports competition on earth. The deliberative and collaborative process that we put in place for selecting a city has resulted in a strong U.S. bid that can truly serve the athletes and the Olympic and Paralympic movements.”


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With LA tourism booming, officials warn of hotel shortage

Chinese tourists walk past the TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on October 24, 2014. Local tourist officials say that mainland Chinese tourists numbers have quadrupled and now make up nearly half the number of foreign visitors to Los Angeles.
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Setting a tourism record for the fourth straight year, 43.4 million visitors came to Los Angeles in 2014, according to city and tourism officials. 

Those tourists spent money at hotels, restaurants, and places like LA Live, Venice Beach and Universal Studio. Last year, Mayor Eric Garcetti joined tourism officials, setting a goal of attracting 50 million annual visitors to L.A. by 2020.  

"This is a competition, and if we’re not out there hustling, people will go some place else," Garcetti said at a news conference in the new Tom Bradley Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. LAX climbed to the rank of the nation's 2nd busiest airport in 2014, with officials estimating a record 70.7 million passengers passed through the facility. The previous record was 67.3 million passengers in 2000.


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Ports of LA, Long Beach look ahead to next rush: Lunar New Year

Officials at the Port of Los Angeles, shown here, and the Port of Long Beach are preparing for the next big cargo rush, hoping to address the congestion that has marked recent months.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are using the historically slow period after the holidays to address the congestion that has plagued the nation's busiest port complex for months.

The next big cargo rush on the horizon is the few weeks before the Lunar New Year, to be marked on Feb. 19. It's a national holiday in China, and many Asia workers can take up to two weeks off

"There’s closure of a lot of the production lines in Asia for the Lunar New Year for one [to] two weeks," says Port of Los Angeles spokesman Phillip Sanfield. "We normally see an uptick in cargo two to four weeks before the Lunar New Year and then there’s a big dip because there are no goods to ship during that period that they’re closed."

In 2014, Lunar New Year was observed on Jan. 31. For that January, the Port of L.A. statistics show workers processed 685,549 20-foot cargo containers. That number dropped to 559,786 units in February then jumped back up to 675,274 containers in March. In comparison, as many as 775,132 containers moved through the port in September at the height of the holiday season.


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LAX, Ontario, John Wayne airports see passenger numbers grow

Photo by brendangates via Flickr Creative Commons

Passenger counts have grown this year at three Southern California airports, with the big one - LAX - on pace to climb out of a slump that's lasted over a decade.  Here's a look at the numbers.

Los Angeles International Airport

In November, 5.4 million passengers moved through LAX, a 6.4 percent increase over November of last year. The January through November total for LAX is 64.7 million passengers. Officials forecasted that nearly three million travelers would pass through during the holiday travel period.  

That would add more than enough to top the total of 66.6 million passengers for all of 2013 .

The last time LAX saw numbers like that was in 2000, when the airport hosted 67.3 million passengers.  The attacks of 9/11 knocked the numbers down in the next two years. The outbreak of SARS in 2003 kept those figures low. The numbers began to climb again in 2004, but the recession caused another drop in 2008.   


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