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West Coast Ports to Tackle Backlog after Labor Deal

February 23, 2015

Port of Los Angeles

West Coast ports will begin to tackle the backlog of a long labor dispute following a "tentative agreement" between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association reached late Friday. The new five-year contract covers 20,000 employees at 29 ports.

While businesses across the nation are relieved, analysts said the agreement would not immediately solve the congestion. After nine months of contentious negotiations, slowdowns and work stoppages, the backlog could take months to clear.

The West Coast ports handle nearly half of all U.S. maritime trade and more than 70 percent of the country's Asian imports. Matthew Shay, president of the National Retail Federation, said in a statement that farmers, manufacturers, retailers and transportation businesses across the country had all suffered.

“We must dedicate ourselves to finding a new way to ensure that this nightmare scenario is not repeated again,” he said.

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