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Dock Workers Reach Tentative Contract; Will Return To Work Saturday Evening

Ben Margot / AP

Container ships wait to be unloaded at the Port of Oakland, Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, in Oakland, Calif.

Ben Margot / AP

Update: 11:23 p.m.

(AP) — U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez says that dockworkers will return to West Coast ports Saturday evening.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Perez said that both the dockworkers' union and their employers agreed to resume weekend work now that they have reached a new contract.

The two sides reached the contract Friday night after nine months of negotiations.

In recent weeks, employers cut most weekend work, saying they would not pay extra wages.

Cargo has backed up in a historically bad crisis of cargo congestion at the 29 ports.

Perez says: "I suspect that people will be getting a lot of overtime in the days ahead."

Update: 6:53 p.m.

(AP) — Negotiators have agreed to a tentative contract covering West Coast dockworkers, likely ending a protracted labor dispute that has snarled international trade at seaports handling about $1 trillion worth of cargo annually.

The breakthrough came after nine months of negotiations that turned contentious in the fall, when dockworkers and their employers began blaming each other for problems getting imports to consumers and exports overseas.

Dockworkers union spokesman Craig Merrilees confirmed the agreement Friday evening. It must be approved by the 13,000-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which works 29 ports from San Diego to Seattle.

Talks began in May, and the prior six-year contract expired July 1. By November, agricultural exporters said some goods were spoiling before they reached market, and U.S. retailers said their products were stuck on the docks.

 

Original post:

(AP) - West Coast dockworkers reach tentative contract after labor strife snarled trade with Asia.

Developing story. Updates posted as available.