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Port Labor Dispute Deal Reached
Nov 25, 2002
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A tentative contract reached by longshoremen and shipping lines on the U.S. West Coast appears to be a harbinger of labor peace following a crippling lockout and weeks of bitter negotiations.

The pact comes nearly 2 months after the start of a lockout that caused cargo to pile up at West Coast ports and cost the fragile economy billions of dollars. The 10-day shutdown ended only after the president intervened, sending talks into mediation. West Coast dockworkers and shipping companies reached a tentative 6-year contract deal early Sunday.

Chief federal mediator Peter Hurtgen praised both sides, saying lead negotiators in San Francisco "demonstrated statesmenlike leadership, which made this agreement possible." Mr. Hurtgen, head of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, would not offer details of the tentative agreement, but characterized it as "historic."

Late Saturday, officials hammered out a tentative agreement that many believe will win final approval from a majority of the 10,500 rank-and-file union members, who will probably vote in early January. The 6-year deal would provide substantial wage and benefit improvements for union members, plus technology and dispute-resolution improvements that the companies wanted, said Mr. Hurtgen. (Associated Press)

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