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The strike that shut down the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for eight days ended this afternoon, and retailers in Southern California heaved a great sign of relief. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the strike began when a clerical unit of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 walked off the job, over the issue of improved job security. These workers handle all the paperwork associated with the cargo imported and exported by the two ports.
Many of the 70,000-plus dock workers honored the picket line, essentially shutting down the ports. According to the Wall Street Journal, an estimated 270 shipping containers, many of them holding consumer goods from China, were stuck offshore. The two ports account for roughly 40% of the value of imported goods brought into the United States.
Logistics providers who promised spring seasonal merchandise to retailers found themselves scrambling for alternatives. Pacific Mountain Logistics told the Wall Street Journal that it had a “drop dead” delivery date of Dec. 17 for a big customer expecting a shipment of patio furniture, gardening supplies and big planters.
Both sides of the dispute agreed to bring in a federal mediator Tuesday night. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.