LOS ANGELES Work resumed Wednesday at the nation's busiest port complex after a crippling strike was settled, ending an eight-day walk-off that affected thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in cargo.
Gates at the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors reopened, and dockworkers were ready to resume loading and unloading at least 13 ships that had been stuck for days, Los Angeles port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the deal shortly after 10:30 p.m. PT Tuesday night, CBS affiliate KCAL-TV reported.
"I think it's appropriate to say mission accomplished," he said. ""I want to thank the parties. This was a tough negotiation."
Ray Familathe, vice president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, noted that the deal still needs to be ratified by the union's Clerical Office, but said that wouldn't be a problem.
"I'm really pleased to tell all of you that my 10,000 longshore workers in the ports of L.A. and Long Beach are going to start moving cargo on these ships," said Familathe. "We're going to get these ships serviced, and we're going to get cargo moved throughout the supply chain and the country, and get everybody those Christmas presents that they're looking for in those stores."
Television reports showed huge cargo vessels moving into port, and a line of trucks waiting to enter a terminal.
Clerical workers who said that shippers were sending their jobs overseas struck on Nov. 27 and thousands of dockworkers in the same union refused to cross picket lines, paralyzing much of the port complex that handles 44 percent of all container cargo that arrives by sea nationwide, including items such as cars from Japan and computers from China.
Negotiators reached a tentative agreement to end the strike late Tuesday, two hours after federal mediators arrived from Washington, D.C. No details about the terms of the deal had been released by early Wednesday, though a statement from the workers' union said it had won new protections preventing jobs from being outsourced.
Port officials estimated that roughly $760 million worth of cargo a day was failing to move through the ports during the walkout. Some 20 ships diverted to other ports in California and Mexico while others scheduled to reach Southern California simply didn't sail.
It wasn't immediately clear specifically which goods were affected; holiday items had arrived weeks ago.
Days of negotiations that included all-night bargaining sessions suddenly went from a stalemate to big leaps of progress by Tuesday. Mayor Villaraigosa said the sides were already prepared to take a vote when the mediators arrived.