California’s economy-crippling union strike against the two largest ports in America – the port of Los Angeles and the port of Long Beach – is now dragging on into its seventh day. Each day, the strike costs the economy $1 billion; ships are already heading to Mexico to offload their goods rather than landing in the United States. The ports create approximately three million jobs in California and across the country, and handle 56 percent of the value of cargo imported into the United States.
The strikers – some 800 clerks – are asking for an unbelievable pay raise, from $165,000 to $195,000. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 is supporting the clerks, using their 10,000 member strong local to back their play. The clerks are also afraid that new locks in the Panama Canal will make the ports less trafficked, putting their jobs in danger. But the Harbor Employers Association has already suggested “absolute job security,” full-time pay, pay increases, and a bonus of $3,000.
In the aftermath of Californians’ decision to greenlight continued union control of the government, it’s no wonder that the unions feel emboldened to shut down one of America’s greatest commerce thoroughfares. And meanwhile, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is trying to force the employers to the table with offers of mediation.
No wonder California is bankrupt.