• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Another Union Strike Would Have Ripple Effect on Economy

    Ongoing negotiations over pay and benefits between the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and U.S. port operators highlights the economic risks when unions monopolize labor markets. They also remind us that imports do, in fact, create jobs.

    Since March the longshoremen have been in heated discussions with 14 ports along the East Coast over a labor contract that expires December 30. The union has been driving a hard bargain, refusing to adhere to monetary caps on bonuses based on the volume of cargo unloaded. These bonuses can reach up to $15,000 per year, in addition to average annual salaries of $100,000 and benefits that exceed $20,000.

    So how much could a strike by the Longshoremen affect the U.S. economy? Besides the 14,500 longshoremen who would participate in the strike, any shutdown of the ports would have a ripple effect throughout the rest of the country. According to CNNMoney:

    Tens of thousands of other workers who handle the freight, such as truckers, railroad and warehouse workers, could also find themselves temporarily out of work if a strike cuts off the flow of cargo.

    Much has been said about how exports and manufacturing are great for the economy and for job creation. However, the threat that this strike poses to U.S. workers also shows the positive impact of imports on U.S. jobs. In fact, a recent report by The Heritage Foundation found that imports of apparel and toys from China create nearly 550,000 jobs for the U.S. economy.

    Free trade and imports are vital to the U.S. economy, not just because they provide consumers with cheap goods, but also because they support jobs—from the dock to the store. Longshore work is a prime example. A strike by longshoremen could suck billions of dollars out of the economy and threaten others’ jobs during the holiday season. Only the Grinch could be that selfish.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Another Union Strike Would Have Ripple Effect on Economy

    1. Myself says:

      I thought reporters were suposed to be non-bias. Sounds to me like you've taken the management side by calling the ILA the grinch. I remind you, in your own article you state that the ILA offered another extension which was rebuffed. who is the Grinch or Scrooge?

    2. Bobbie says:

      Unions don't care about America anymore. They work for the President!

      Could someone let Mr. Boehner know that America's experience with Barak Obama says putting the greatest tax hike responsibility on Obama means nothing of shame to Obama or anyone that support Obama! Please tell him to stand on principle to protect America or cower like no true American would.
      We want America back this man has no right taking!!!!

    3. ILA local 970 says:

      The ignorance from this article is much for one to bare. I am A longshoreman and I can tell you that this is very one sided and miss informative. First thing is that the Container Royalty fund is NOT a " bonus" Its a supplemental wadge for our jobs that are taken away from us by technology. Also what they failed to tell you is that we offered (2 days ago) to extend this out to February 1 2012 so there would be no strike but USMX declined our offer. Oh and by the way….we don't make $100,000 a year(our TOP PAY guys make around $60k a year on a 40 hr. work week) but I'll assume you pulled that out of your back side like the rest of the article.

      ILA Local 970

    4. Charles says:

      As a member of the Longshoremen's Union I read your article with great interest as I try to see other perspectives. Let me first say that the container royalty fund is not and never was designed as a bonus. It was designed to take away part of the sting we felt when the Container rules were eliminated. One of the rules was the 50 mile radius rule that was an agreement between Labor and management to insure that all cargo within 50 miles of a port be loaded and unloaded by longshoremen. This rule was put in place to protect longshore jobs from the revolution known as "containers". The container royalty fund was a result of the loss of these "rules". There are probably 15,000 less longshoremen as a result of eliminating those rules.
      I am grateful that your article did not include the big retailers quote (Walmart, etc.) from another article in which they said a strike by the ILA would hurt small business. I find this completely ludicrous because nobody has hurt or will hurt small business as much as they have.
      I would much rather see less imported goods and more manufacturing in this country (then perhaps we could send something back to China besides empty containers) . But things being what they are I will strike and stay on strike in the face of corporate steamship lines that are bigger, stronger, and richer than ever. They have built there wealth on our backs and we will not take less so that they can make more.

    5. Aundre says:

      The only grinch here is the big business that want to take take take until there is nothing left. 3 yrs ago management agreed to take off caps on royalty now they want to put them back on? It's always people that are not longshoreman who act like we are greedy. Let me ask you something when was the last time someone died on your job? Exactly! Longshoreman earn every dime we get and have lost more over the yrs then you could possibly imagine!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×