California may find itself in a disastrous fiscal situation, but that won’t stop California’s newly-empowered unions from flexing their muscle. In the aftermath of the failure of Proposition 32, which would have prevented public sector unions from funding politicians, the unions are celebrating their confirmed power by striking. The latest strikes started today with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63, which shut down the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are the busiest ports in the United States.
Even though November traffic remains slow at the ports, that doesn’t mean the economic effect will be mitigated. These ports handle approximately 40% of America’s imports.
Shockingly, the strike doesn’t include dockworkers – it’s just the clerical staff at the union, which has now set up picket lines at the terminals at the Port of Los Angeles. The 50,000-member union supports the strikers; 10,000 dockworkers did refuse to cross the picket lines.
While the unions are shutting down America’s port traffic, they refuse to speak to the media. According to the Los Angeles Times, “The union fell back on a statement released Tuesday evening and had no further comment Wednesday.”
There were no specific demands by the union; their only statement decried “corporate greed and outsourcing.” No wonder so many companies are outsourcing, when unions shut down their ports of entry. The 14 employers negotiating with the unions contend they haven’t outsourced any jobs, and had even proposed “absolute job security” and both wage and pension increases in a rotten economy.
The last lockout of this sort took place in 2002. It cost the economy some $15 billion.