58,000-acre brush fire closes I-90

West Coast port worker slowdown cost businesses $769.5 million

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(File photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — A new report says the labor dispute that led to a slowdown at all West Coast ports last year cost Washington businesses nearly $770 million.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports that a recent study from the pro-trade advocacy group Washington Council on International Trade study found unshipped and delayed exports cost businesses roughly $556 million. Agriculture products were hit the worst.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association battled over contract negotiations from October 2014 to March 2015, leading to the slowdown.

Longshore union spokesman Craig Merrilees said Monday he had not seen the report. But he said economists have criticized previous studies trying to tease out such financial impacts as exaggerated and inaccurate.