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Workers At Ports Of LA, Long Beach Resume Work Following 8-Day Strike

WILMINGTON ( — Thousands of workers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach were back at work Wednesday following a crippling 8-day strike.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Tuesday night a tentative deal was reached.

"I think it's appropriate to say mission accomplished," the mayor exclaimed shortly after 10:30 p.m. "I want to thank both parties. This was a tough negotiation."

"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 Ray Familathe, vice president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. "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."

Talks between shippers and the workers union, which started over the weekend, has culminated with a proposed contract. The deal still needs to be ratified by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit, but Familathe said that shouldn't be a problem.

The workers have been without a contract since June 2010. No details were released on the conditions of the new agreement.

"Tonight is the end of a very long journey. Both sides had principles that were very important to them," said Stephen Berry, the chief negotiator for the shippers.

This news came after Villaraigosa said earlier in the day that talks were at a stand-still and that he was calling in a federal mediator.

The mayor returned from a planned trade mission to South America Monday night because of the strike. He went straight to the bargaining table at 11 p.m. and continued to be a part of negotiations early Tuesday morning.

Over the weekend he called for labor and management to "start bargaining around the clock with the assistance of a federal or other mediator until an agreement is reached."

The walkout, which began on Nov. 27, dramatically slowed activity at the nation's busiest cargo complex as dockworkers refused to cross picket lines set up by union clerical workers.

Villaraigosa estimated the strike cost the U.S. economy $8 billion.

The union contends that terminal operators have outsourced local clerical jobs. The shippers deny the allegation and say they have offered lifelong job security to the 600 or so full-time clerical workers.

The strike was the largest work stoppage at the ports since shipping companies locked workers out for 10 days in 2002.


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