Failure on the Waterfront

Meanwhile, frustrated exporters and importers will find other routes. In a recent survey by the Journal of Commerce, 60% of shippers said they had begun redirecting cargoes away from America’s West Coast ports. Once that business leaves, it may never return. Western ports have already lost market share to the East Coast since 2002, when failed labour talks led to an 11-day lockout and a total shutdown.

via Labour relations: Watching fruit rot | The Economist.

When the docks of Tacoma, Oakland, Port Hueneme, and Long Beach go quiet; when two million jobs and billions of tax dollars disappear from the West Coast; and when these massive ports become run-down waterside slums, remember that the decline began when a union put its own existence ahead of the well-being of its members, its communities, its cities, and the region.

I have nothing agains the dockworkers having a union. I have nothing against collective bargaining. And I recognize that in any labor dispute, both sides share culpability. But in this case, the union needs to recognize that its tactics are self-defeating and that it needs to take an approach that doesn’t threaten millions of other workers in the process.

2 thoughts on “Failure on the Waterfront

  1. Sounds like you’ve been sucking on one of those “Wishful Thinking” Lolly Pops again. Maybe Obama will intercede like he did for the auto industry and force a settlement that gives the Unions everything they asked for plus board seats on all of the harbor companies. Oh, and indemnify union workers from criminal prosecution for their enforcement tactics. No doubt, the money they spend supporting Democrat politicians will yet again provide a good return on investment.

  2. Setting my lollypop aside, this is economic blackmail, and IMHO goes far beyond the intent of the National Labor Relations Act. I have no tolerance for greed at the expense of public good, whether it comes from a boardroom or a union hall.

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