L.A. PORTS DEAL: A clerical union and shipping employers struck a labor deal Thursday to avert a strike at the nation's largest port complex in Los Angeles and Long Beach. After almost two weeks of negotiations, representatives of the 930-member Office Clerical Unit of Local 63, a division of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and 14 shipping companies settled on a new three-year contract. The previous contract expired July 1, and the union had threatened to strike. Apparel manufacturers and retailers had been closely watching the developments because a work stoppage by the clerical union would have triggered a walkout by about 15,000 longshoremen. The twin ports handle 40 percent of the nation's incoming cargo.

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