Dockworkers back to work tackling huge cargo backlog

Thursday, October 10, 2002

LOS ANGELES -- West Coast dockworkers returned to their jobs under court order Wednesday and were greeted with a huge backlog of cargo that built up over 10 days of a labor lockout.

"It's been very hard. We're just glad to be back at work," said Karen Korbich, a dockworker for the past nine years.

Dockworkers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach held a rally before returning to their jobs. They were joined by civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, who helped lead cheers of "We want to work!"

The cargo backlog caused by the lockout could take more than two months to clear.

"Simply put, it's more complicated to fix something than to break it," said John Pachtner, a spokesman for the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping companies and terminal operators.

The 10,500 members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union reported at hiring halls to work 6 p.m. shifts, ending a lockout that shut down 29 ports from San Diego to Seattle and cost the nation's fragile economy up to $2 billion a day by holding up exports and imports.

Dockworkers were expected to labor around the clock, with other shifts beginning at 3 a.m. and 8 a.m., officials said

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