Editor’s Note: The more than one-week long LA Port strike was settled late last night.
Them’s fightin’ words!
At Dodger Stadium it’s “Let’s go Giants!” West of Sepulveda it’s “I voted for Romney.” Just about everywhere else it’s “On strike!”
“Union” is one of the words in the English language guaranteed to get a reaction, either love or hate, but never “eh.”
Right now the fight is on at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as a strike by the 800-member International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit enters its ninth day.
With losses totaling $1 billion a day, the stakes are so high L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa actually had to drop by Los Angeles to do his job. Both sides have agreed to meet with federal mediators and this will, hopefully, be quickly resolved.
A billion a day tends to get people’s attention.
I’m not going to pretend I understand the issues that prompted this strike, but the visceral hatred of organized labor is worth considering.
Every man has his price and for too many today that price is rock bottom. However, we feel about unions, this should worry us.
Gas still hovers around $4 a gallon; with food and rent rising and taxes on everything heading north. Yet wages for millions continue to head south.
And thanks to the clerks strike, so too are the giant cargo ships that bring all that crap we buy from China. Ships are being diverted to Mexico’s state-of-the-art deepwater port in Ensenada, bypassing the unions, the AQMD, OSHA and every other business-chilling California and federal rule and regulation.
And in the not-too-distant future the ships may continue heading to Ensenada as their principle port of call, taking thousands of American jobs with them as well as the middle-class way of life.
Here’s the plan: Outsource manufacturing to China, import cargo containers to Mexico; load them onto newly constructed rail lines heading north, or truck them into the United States on NAFTA-approved Mexican trucks bypassing the Teamsters Union.
It’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s a business model and it’s real.
Of course, the other shoe dropping on the throats of the middle class is the downward pressure on wages created by a flood of cheap labor deliberately imported from the Third World either legally or illegally.
If you’re lucky enough to have a job how many times a week do you hear, “You’re lucky to have job”? Is this the new standard for America? To work longer and harder for less and less while prices and taxes skyrocket? The unions are fighting a lost cause, speeding along their own demise by employing tactics from the Industrial Revolution in the digital age. The port strike may get the workers a new contract, but it will only accelerate the departure of more cargo to Mexico.
This may delight labor-haters who think union member is synonymous with “thug,” but history teaches we often find the biggest thugs aren’t wearing overalls. They’re wearing Brooks Brothers.
Crossposted on Los Angeles Daily News