On Monday, Warren Buffet’s hometown paper, the Omaha World-Herald reported that the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach might be shut down due to a “work slowdown” by the the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which would cause a crisis of national proportions. As reported in Port labor dispute is big concern for railroads Union Pacific, BNSF:
After reading dozens of news articles about congestion problems and vaguely defined “labor problems” at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and ports throughout the U.S., It seems to me that American workers are being blamed for a massive mistake – a national failure of judgement – not to “just say no” to the new mega container ships.
The American taxpayer has paid billions of dollars, and is on the line for billions more to upgrade US ports on our East, West, and Gulf ports; dredge bays and rivers and damage the ocean ecosystem; raise bridges; and – in many cases (as David Bensman recently reported in Generating Environmental Inequality), further damage the quality of life of overburdened communities and damage public health.
Why? To save money for foreign shippers? To lower the cost of imports? Does it make sense for the American worker to pay to lower the costs of imported manufactured goods and damage the competitiveness of American manufacturing? Why should the American people allow huge ships owned by foreign companies to threaten our national freight transportation system?
I leave it to the reader to answer that question for themselves, and invite comments.