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Sh*t, look at this. Anybody with cars coming out here, check this out. There has been a lock out.

West Coast Ports at Standstill

By JUSTIN PRITCHARD, Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO -- Longshoremen were locked out of the West Coast's ports Saturday as a labor dispute between shipping lines and the dock worker's union grew into a disruption that prevented millions of dollars in goods from reaching shore.

The one-day "cooling-off" period in contract negotiations came after the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping lines and terminal operators, accused the longshoremen's union of a work slowdown to gain leverage in the increasingly acrimonious talks.

Independent truckers Harry Singh, left, and Mikey Singh wait by their tractor-trailers near a port facility in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo)
The association's board met Friday morning and unanimously agreed to shutter the ports from 6 p.m. until 8 a.m. Sunday. Both sides have scheduled a meeting for Saturday afternoon.

The disruption could deal an immediate blow to the U.S. economy and stanch the flow of products from the Pacific Rim just as importers are rushing to distribute goods for the holiday season. The association has said that a coastwide labor disruption could cost the economy around $1 billion per day. West Coast ports handle more than $300 billion in imports and exports each year.

The Bush administration urged both sides to resolve the dispute, but said it would not intervene to keep the docks open.

"At this point, we are hopeful the two parties will come back to the bargaining table in good faith," Department of Labor spokeswoman Sue Hensley said. "We are monitoring this very closely."

Word of the lockout prompted the head of the Federal Mediation Conciliation Service to fly to San Francisco, where the contract talks have been steadily deteriorating.

The antagonism already has moved beyond the negotiating room.

Friday evening, officials at the Maersk terminal in Oakland said they called police to escort out workers who said that as they were clocking out, shipping line superintendents tried to do the union-protected job of lashing down containers on a vessel that was otherwise ready to head to sea.

Association president Joseph Miniace called the lockout "a very, very tough decision," but one that shipping lines and terminal operators had to make because of provocations from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

"It's the very last thing we wanted to do," Miniace said. "But the union forced us into this."

A union spokesman said the association was acting alone and that union negotiators wanted to keep talking.

"Miniace showed the same disrespect for the union he has since the beginning of these talks," union President James Spinosa said. "He is unilaterally taking the action of closing all ports and bears full responsibility for its effects on the American economy."

The union issued a directive Thursday telling the 10,500 workers it represents at all 29 major Pacific ports to work in strict accordance with all safety and health rules.

The association said longshoremen were slowing the pace of work at ports in Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Ore., Seattle and Tacoma, Wash. and had lowered productivity as much as 90 percent.

Talks, ongoing for months, crumbled this week over the question of how to implement new technology. The union wants guarantees that positions created by technological advances are union-covered, while the association says the union shouldn't dictate that it gets every job created by new technology.

2,262 Posts
:mad: unions.. :tsk: :flipoff: :banghead: :thumbdwn:

i don't see a long-term strike as it will cripple the entire u.s. economy if such a thing occurs.. and the gov't wouldn't let that happen...... at least i hope.. i just hope they have it solved by the time my car ships..

if they do have a long strike, would bmw ship the cars to the east coast and drive them out here? :dunno:
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