West Coast Ports Reopen as White House Joins Dispute

 

West Coast ports reopened today after a five day shutdown, as Labor Secretary Tom Perez meets with representatives in San Francisco to find a long term end to the nine month dispute.

The White House is ramping up its pressure to end the cargo slowdown affecting half of all U.S. maritime trade and more than 70 percent of Asian imports.

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Image: Port of Oakland

“The negotiations over the functioning of the West Coast ports have been taking place for months with the administration urging the parties to resolve their differences...Out of concern for the economic consequences of further delay, the president has directed his Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to travel to California to meet with the parties to urge them to resolve their dispute quickly at the bargaining table.”
-White House spokesman Eric Schultz.

Regardless of the outcome of today’s negotiations, the port strike has already taken a toll on the flow of retail traffic that has caused devastating financial damage and a backordered shipment schedule that could take months to clear up. If a permanent shutdown were to happen, it could cost the national economy up to $2 billion a day.

“The longer we have disruptions at the ports, the more and more people say this is a reason to do business elsewhere.”
-Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo speaking to the LA Times.

Honda has already cut back in production in its Ohio, Indiana, and Canada, plants because it’s unable to obtain crucial parts from Japan. Toyota is cutting back on overtime at some its plants and paying for costly airlifting of important parts. Clothing retailers such as Levi’s and Michael Kors have spoken up about the detrimental impact the strike has  on their ability to  make deliveries on time. Citrus growers in California have said crates of oranges are rotting away, waiting to be loaded onto ships.

For continued coverage of the conflict, check our West Coast Labor Dispute here




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