Busiest port complex reopens after strike
Dozens of ships stuck in idle during eight-day walk-off. ‘It’s going to take a few days … to get back to normal.’
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 ships that had been stuck for days, Los Angeles port spokesman Phillip Sanfield said.
“It’s going to take a few days, maybe a week or two to get back to normal,” Long Beach port spokesman Art Wong said.
Dozens of ships were stuck idle at the complex or delayed on their way in, officials said. Auto
port spokesman 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.
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 failed to move through the ports during the walkout. About 20 ships were diverted to other ports.
A full account of all of the goods affected was not immediately available; 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 Antonio Villaraigosa said the sides were already prepared to take a vote when the mediators arrived.
“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 cargo moved throughout the supply chain and the country and get everybody those that they’re looking for in those stores.”
Port workers cross a bridge on their return to work at the Port of Long Beach on Wednesday. Work resumed at the Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors after the settlement of a strike that crippled the complex for more than a week.