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This is the story behind last week’s peace accord between the LA-Long Beach container terminal employers and striking unions, which closed the port complex for eight days and cost billions. For the employers, the drive to cut costs is “just business”, while for the union it provoked “an existential crisis”, and which ultimately saw it rush to secure a deal before the arrival of federal mediators. The dispute was also part of a wider tussle between workers and employers, and now that it is settled shipper groups have turned their focus to the looming threat of ports strikes on the east and Gulf coasts.

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