This Article is About
eastern seaboard
fresh fruits
household goods
massive amounts
devastation
grapes
International Longshoreman Prepare To Strike
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International Longshoreman Prepare to Strike

As the International Longshoreman Association (ILA) prepares to strike, the East Coast will need to prepare itself for yet another economic blow. Many along the Eastern seaboard have still not been able to recover from the devastation to which Hurricane Sandy inflicted on them, and now, just days before the New year, the ILA pose a threat which would affect 14 US Ports spanning from Maine to Texas. Negotiations with the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) regarding their contracts have not gone well, and a strike aimed for December 30th seems immanent.

What does this mean?

A strike of this magnitude will stop all import cargo, throughout these 14 ports. We rely on our ports and imported products much more than many would care to believe. However, when we think imports, some of the most important items tend to get overlooked, such as Fresh Fruits. Clementines from Span & Morocco, Grapes from Chile, Peru & Brazil; these have all been steadily arriving since late October. Thousands of Bananas, which are imported on a yearly basis pass through these ports every week. And, I won’t begin to mention the meats, the wood, and the massive amounts of steel that, are unloaded at these piers.

When most people think about imported items, they only think about the electronics or the household goods, that one might reference by a familiar marking “made in China”, but when you look around, there are so much more items we receive, that keep us going, items which, arrive from other countries. Things we truly need, things we rely on.

So, why should you care if there is a strike?

Because the operations at the ports will stop. The availability of fresh fruit on the East Coast will be severely limited. The prices will go up. It is inevitable that the supermarkets will need to raise the prices or, they will just not be able to carry the item due to lack of availability. The effects of this strike will have a serious impact on the economy.

The Longshoreman’s Union represents about 15,000 workers among these ports. This will not be a small strike by any means.

Can this be stopped?

There is still a small chance that the ILA & USMX will come to terms on or before December 29th. The parties have agreed to sit with the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to try and negotiate a new contract. However, at the time of this writing, all signs still indicate that the ports continue to issue strike preparation procedures.

Petitions by retailers and businesses from across the United States urged President Obama in a letter to “take immediate action and use all of the options available to you, including the authority under the Taft-Hartley act, to keep the parties at the negotiating table”. Although, many are doubtful that the President would intervene with Taft-Hartley, this approach had been used by the George W. Bush administration when the ports on the West Coast shut down 11 years ago. President Bush, however waited 10 days before setting Taft-Hartley in motion. It is believed that President Obama would look for alternative solutions to help the union with a resolution.

In the end, although I am not part of the ILA, nor do I have any connection to them, I anxiously await the results of their contract negotiations. Why? Because I wonder how will I fill my plate with fresh fruits over the next few weeks? If prices soar, how will I buy fruit while staying on a budget?

Whatever happens, it is clear that we will all have the answers on December 30, 2012.


Street Talk

How much more does the coast need to go through? Uggghhh!

Reply
  about 9 years ago

The USMX came to an agreement and have extended negotiations for another 30 days! This is fantastic news for those who are waiting on containers to be released at the ports, however on January 28th, if they do not come to an agreement, we will be in the same boat again, pardon the pun. There is an optimistic feeling being described by the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service stating that they believe that an agreement can be reached over the next 30 days. Lets hope!

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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