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Feb 9, 2015

U.S. West Coast port operations resume with more labor talks scheduled

LOS ANGELES, Feb 9 (Reuters) – U.S. West Coast port
operations resumed in full on Monday after shipping companies
suspended loading and unloading of freighters for the weekend,
citing chronic cargo backups the shippers and dockworkers have
blamed on each other during months of labor tensions.

Reopening of the ports to cargo vessels idled by the
slowdowns and weekend suspension came as the shippers and
dockworkers’ union were scheduled to return to the bargaining
table for further labor negotiations later in the day, the two
sides said.

Feb 7, 2015

Measles outbreak spurs new action in California, New Mexico

By Steve Gorman

(Reuters) – Students at all 10 campuses of the University of California will be required to be screened for tuberculosis and vaccinated for measles, mumps, rubella and other diseases under a new health plan set to take effect in 2017, the university said on Friday.

Announcement of the policy change, which goes beyond the hepatitis B shots already required of all 233,000 UC students, comes amid measles outbreaks that have infected more than 100 people in California and over a dozen more in 19 other U.S. states and Mexico since December.

Feb 7, 2015

Shippers suspend weekend cargo loading at U.S. West Coast ports

LOS ANGELES, Feb 6 (Reuters) – The loading and unloading of
freighters will be suspended at all 29 U.S. West Coast ports
this weekend, shipping companies said on Friday, citing chronic
cargo backups that the shippers and dockworkers union have
blamed on each other during months of labor tensions.

But terminal yard, rail and gate operations at the ports,
handling nearly half of U.S. maritime trade and over 70 percent
of imports from Asia, will go on at the discretion of terminal
managers through Saturday and Sunday, the Pacific Maritime
Association said.

Feb 6, 2015

U.S. measles outbreak prompts vaccine crackdown in New Mexico schools

By Steve Gorman

(Reuters) – One of New Mexico’s largest public school districts, spurred by a measles outbreak that has infected about 100 people in California, will start barring unvaccinated students from class unless they have a valid state exemption, the head of the school board said on Friday.

The move by the 14,000-student Santa Fe district came as legislators in California, Oregon and Washington state are considering laws to make it harder for parents legally to opt out of vaccinating school-aged children. Bills in several other states would loosen restrictions.

Feb 5, 2015

U.S. West Coast shippers invoke specter of port shutdowns

LOS ANGELES, Feb 4 (Reuters) – The chief labor negotiator
for shippers and terminal operators at 29 U.S. West Coast ports
raised the ante in contract talks with the dockworkers’ union on
Wednesday, warning that ports plagued by chronic cargo slowdowns
were days away from complete gridlock.

But union officials downplayed the potential for shutdowns,
suggesting management was exaggerating a crisis as a late-hour
negotiation ploy, and countered that the two sides were already
close to a settlement.

Feb 4, 2015

Contract negotiators for U.S. West Coast ports hit snag

LOS ANGELES, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Shipping companies and
terminal operators for 29 U.S. West Coast ports appeared to have
hit a snag on Wednesday in protracted labor negotiations with
the dockworkers’ union, calling a news conference to publicly
address the status of the talks.

The negotiations, joined in recent weeks by a federal
mediator, have coincided with chronic cargo backups hampering
freight traffic through waterfronts handling nearly half of U.S.
maritime trade and more than 70 percent of imports from Asia.

Jan 31, 2015

California truckers win $2 million in wage theft suit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Seven Los Angeles-area truckers have won a $2 million claim against an international shipping company accused of stealing their wages by improperly classifying them as independent contractors and charging them to lease its trucks to drive.

In a decision with implications for hundreds of companies and thousands of truckers in Southern California alone, a San Diego County Superior Court judge held that the seven plaintiffs should have been defined as employees of Pacer Cartage under California’s labor law, not as independent owner-operators.

Jan 27, 2015

Contract talks for U.S. West Coast ports clear major hurdle

LOS ANGELES, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Negotiators for major
shipping lines and the union representing 20,000 dockworkers
have reached a tentative agreement on the maintenance of cargo
chassis, overcoming a key hurdle in protracted contract talks
for 29 U.S. West Coast ports.

Settlement of the chassis issue, and the labor talks in
general, has been seen as crucial to resolving months of chronic
cargo backups hampering ports that handle nearly half of U.S.
maritime trade and more than 70 percent of imports from Asia.

Jan 1, 2015

Four slightly hurt by Rose Bowl ‘dust devil’ in California

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A freak funnel of wind struck a concession area outside the Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena during a pregame event on Wednesday, tossing tents and canopies through the air and slightly injuring four people, a fire department official said.

The burst of wind, which a National Weather Service specialist called a “cold dust devil,” was caught in a video clip posted on YouTube showing vendors and bystanders, including a person dressed in a cow costume, yelling and running for cover.

Dec 31, 2014

Cold grips U.S., with snow forecast from Southwest to Rockies

By Steve Gorman and Mark Guarino

(Reuters) – An Arctic air mass over the Great Plains gripped much of the country in below-normal temperatures on Tuesday and ushered in winter storm warnings from the Rockies to the Southwest, with snow forecast even in Las Vegas, before the New Year’s holiday.

The chill extended to Southern California and was expected to persist through New Year’s Day, as the National Weather Service predicted that crowds camped out before dawn on Thursday in Pasadena for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade would likely brave a record freeze.

    • About Steve

      "Joining Reuters in 1994 as a member of the broadcast/online desk in Washington, Steve later moved to Los Angeles, where he spent 10 years covering the entertainment industry, and the past two years as a general news correspondent. Steve began his career at United Press International in Washington. He also spent three years on Capitol Hill as editor of a weekly news journal published by a congressional caucus, the Environmental and Energy Study Conference."
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