Negotiations resumed early Thursday between harbor-area clerical workers and shippers following an overnight break, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports.

The two sides traded proposals late Wednesday and throughout Thursday, and indicated that only a "handful of issues" remain before a tentative agreement is reached.

As of late Thursday night, there were no indications that a strike - or an agreement - was imminent.

Most of Thursday was spent going back and forth on language on both sides over trust funds provided for employees, said attorney Steve Berry, lead negotiator for the shippers and terminal operators.

"We can't commit dollars if these trust funds are going to be a blank check," he said.

Threats of a strike by more than 900 union workers earlier in the week prompted fierce, lengthy negotiations as both parties sought to avert labor instability at the nation's largest seaport.

The workers handle shipping and receiving data, credit union duties and some financial paperwork for 14 marine terminal operators and ocean carriers in the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

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