Los Angeles

Port Slowdown Over: Obama, Mayors of LA and Long Beach Praise Deal

With ports on the West Coast revving back to life Monday, politicians were eager to address the key labor deal that let union workers load and unload ships after over a week of

The ports had been shut or slowed for more than week until a tentative agreement was reached Friday night between longshoremen and port employers, earning responses from President Barack Obama and two important Southern California mayors.

About 30 container ships were parked outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the largest in the U.S., this weekend, according to some estimates.

The agreement will "make a big difference for the country's economy as a whole," Obama said Monday morning.

And at a press conference near the Port of Los Angeles, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia thanked the two parties for resolving their dispute.

Union disputes at a port may feel remote from a person's day-to-day life, but the huge volume of goods that move through the ports -- about 43 percent of America's imports -- bring in many products people buy in stores and more than $30 billion in taxes, officials said.

Among the industries hurt by the port slowdown was California's agriculture industry, whose products were rotting in port without ships to take them to hungry people in foreign shores.

And despite the agreement, some of the ships have been waiting for days to be unloaded, and easing the back up could take some time.

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