Insiders speculate 1% loss in US GDP over west coast ports slowdown
February 19, 2015
A dispute involving between 14-20,000 port workers in California, Oregon and Washington (accounting for approximately 68-percent of container ship clearing) is causing significant enough bottlenecks to drop the GDP of the entire country, forecasters say.
It’s said that outbound cargo has been most significantly affected.
The issue arose upon the expiration of contracts between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the officials in charge of operating the ports. This occurred on Jun 30, 2014 – and negotiations before and since have failed to reach a conclusion.
Despite a clear and measurable slowdown in productivity (also evidenced by the number of cargo ships backed up at sea) that correlates to the dispute at hand, the ILWU refuses to admit that there is a coordinated effort to stifle productivity. They instead are offering a downstream blame, that there is a shortage of both trucks and drivers moving cargo from the ships to the yard.
In an effort to appeal directly to the workers whom are represented by the union (rather than the union reps themselves) leaflets have been handed out to dockworkers which outline the exact details of the “last, best and final offer” that is currently on the table. This offer had previously not been made public.
Port officials hope doing so will persuade dockworkers to apply pressure onto their reps and expedite the process of putting ink to paper on a new contract.
Reports from around the country are coming in of business being affected by the slowdown in exports. “We simply don’t have enough space to store the finished goods” reported a northern California almond farm CEO. He was commenting on his recent 33% employee downsizing.
A Denver, Colorado toy store owner said that the strike has affected their stocks, causing some products to miss out on the holiday rush.
The unfortunate truth about a dispute such as this is that there is only one party that will benefit, and that is the union and its workers. For the rest of the country, we’re forced to sit back and hope that reason prevails – and this problem does not escalate to a full-blown strike.
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