Posted December 22, 2012 by Stanley Orchard in Business

Gulf Coast and East Coast container Ports at risk of being shut down

The Gulf Coast and East coast Container Ports are in danger of being shut after talks broke down on Tuesday. The port could be shut down as soon as the strike begins on December 30th 2012.

The strike at container ports from Houston to Boston is very likely to take place after talks held on Tuesday broke down. This would leave a lot of businesses and companies in the balance as fears loom over the December 30th strike which might cripple the port’s function.

The strike, which is going to cost the economy at least $ 1 billion a day and involves approximately 14500 dock workers at all the main ports along the Gulf and East coast, will stop the flow of goods from toys and clothing to furniture and televisions. The Gulf Coast and East Coast container ports handle very many items and products that are vital in keeping the United States factories and industries running such as, heavy machinery and auto parts.

According to the journal of commerce, more the half of the ocean goods coming into and out of the United States pass through the Gulf Coast and East Coast ports.

The Gulf Coast and East Coast port workers are represented by the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and are trying to come into an agreement with the United States Maritime Alliance, which represents managements at the shipping lines, ports and terminals. If no agreement is reached, the dock workers union, which had never put down its tools due to a strike since 1977, has promised to walk out on December 30th at 12:01 am.

If this strike happens to see the light of day, then tens of thousands of other port workers who manage and handle other tasks such as warehouse workers, railroad workers and truck drivers will face temporary unemployment.

The management group stated that it had agreed to a federal mediator’s plan for a contract extension. The group, in the contract, stated that it would give a pay increase to the dock employees that would see their average hourly rate rise to over $ 55, or more than $ 110,000 annually.

ILA (International Longshoremen Association) said in a statement that the management increased wages paid to its members. They said that they were prepared to offer an extension. However, they said that they were only willing to do this if all the main issues were taken cares of. The union wants to maintain the current formulae in place while management wants to roll back those per-container payments which are referred to as royalties.

Stanley Orchard

Stanley Orchard, who was born and raised in Minnesota, got his first full-time news job at KXMD-TV in Williston, N.D., where he was reporter and editor.  From there, he moved to positions at KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi, Texas, and WHO-TV in Des Moines, Iowa and during his two decades there Stanley, handled special projects manager and newsroom supervisor.  He then moved to Portland, and worked with the KGW-TV newsroom.