Federal labor officials do not plan to pursue a case against a Port of Los Angeles terminal operator accused by a union of spying on employees, a government spokeswoman said Friday.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit filed National Labor Relations Board charges on Nov. 14 - about two weeks before beginning an eight-day strike - against APM Terminals Pacific Ltd., the largest terminal operator at the Port of Los Angeles. The one-page charge alleged company officials conducted secret surveillance against union members by eavesdropping on confidential communications during a more than six-month period.
Nancy Cleeland, a spokeswoman for the labor board, said the charges were dismissed by government lawyers because of a lack of cooperation by the longshore union. She said the case will stay open for about 10 more days in case union officials approach board officials.
Unions, union members and employers can file charges alleging labor law violations. But the cases generally do not become serious until government lawyers file a formal complaint, which they do after investigating the merits of the charge. In this case, government lawyers did not receive enough information from the union to move forward, Cleeland said.
Officials with the union and with APM Terminals could not be reached for comment Friday.
The situation is not particularly unusual and does not necessarily mean the initial charge was not meritorious, said Catherine Fisk, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine.
"In the context of labor negotiation disputes, it's not all that unusual for parties to file charges and, when the dispute is resolved, they agree on everything and agree to dismiss all the charges," she said.
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