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Southern California ports reopen as shipping clerks reach deal

Some 10,000 workers at the largest US port returned to work Wednesday after an eight-day strike. The longshoreman's union says the deal prevents $87,000 per year clerical jobs from being outsourced overseas.

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The strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach is over. Above, trucks in long lines outside the ports waiting to carry goods across the nation.

(AP Photo/Nick Ut)

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Clerical workers and longshoremen at the nation's largest port complex will return to work Wednesday, eight days after they walked out in a crippling strike that prevented shippers from delivering billions of dollars in cargo across the country.

"I'm really pleased to tell all of you that my 10,000 longshore workers in the ports of LA 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."

Negotiators reached a tentative agreement to end the strike late Tuesday, less than two hours after federal mediators arrived from Washington, D.C. No details about the terms of the deal were released, though a statement from the workers' union said it had won new protections preventing jobs from being outsourced.

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.

At issue during the lengthy negotiations was the union's contention that terminal operators wanted to outsource future clerical jobs out of state and overseas — an allegation the shippers denied.

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