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Clerical union strike idles LA ports

Photos by Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters

Anchored container ships sit offshore near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach during a strike by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit in Los Angeles, Calif., Dec. 2, 2012. The strike by clerical workers at the twin ports idled most of the busiest U.S. cargo shipping complex for a sixth day on Sunday as container-laden vessels waited to be unloaded and marathon contract talks stretched into the night.

Union members walk a picket line during the strike near APM Terminals in Los Angeles, Calif., on Sunday. Some 10,000 members of the local union were refusing to cross picket lines of some 500 striking clerical workers, effectively shutting down 10 of the two ports' combined 14 container terminals.

The Los Angeles Times reports that a small union is causing big problems for giant Southern California ports.

The small band of strikers that has effectively shut down the nation's busiest shipping complex forced two huge cargo ships to head for other ports Thursday and kept at least three others away, hobbling an economic powerhouse in Southern California.

The disruption is costing an estimated $1 billion a day at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, on which some 600,000 truckers, dockworkers, trading companies and others depend for their livelihoods.

A road normally crowded with trucks is seen empty during the strike at the Port of Los Angeles on Sunday.

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