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West Coast dockworkers union ratifies 5-year contract; labour dispute had hobbled sea trade

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The labour dispute that hobbled international trade through West Coast seaports earlier this year is officially over.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union announced Friday that its rank-and-file members approved a five-year deal their leaders reached with employers in February.

Union spokesman Craig Merrilees says 82 per cent of voters favoured the new contract. About 13,000 union members were eligible to vote.

The Pacific Maritime Association of shipping lines and port terminal operators said earlier this week that its members passed the contract.

Cargo is again flowing smoothly through 29 ports that handle about $1 trillion in imports and exports annually.

Now the two sides must work to restore confidence that West Coast ports remain a reliable gateway for international commerce.