Dec 5 2012

Deal brings end to L.A., Long Beach ports strike

Clerical workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will return to work Wednesday, ending a strike that crippled America’s busiest shipping hub for more than a week.

Leaders of the 800-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit agreed to a tentative deal after marathon negotiations that ended late Tuesday. The deal will not become final until it is ratified by the full union membership.

It ends a grueling battle between both sides that threatened to damage the fragile U.S. economy. Since the strike began, 20 ships diverted to rival ports in Oakland, Ensenada and Panama, while other freighters docked offshore waiting for a resolution.

“This was at a critical juncture,” said Jock O’Connell, an international trade economist. “The national economy is still trying to get on its feet and this strike would have been decidedly unhelpful. There are enough head winds out there already.

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