Somehow the Republicans will wind up getting the blame.
Higher prices, empty shelves, layoffs and overall economic decline could result from a port strike threatened by union longshoremen if their contract expires as scheduled at midnight tomorrow, port officials and business leaders says.
“It certainly isn’t looking good,” said John Holub, president of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, which represents 3,500 retailers in the state, from department stores on down. “From everything that we’re hearing, the likelihood of action is a serious concern to our members.”
Despite a 90-day extension of talks in September, the International Longshoremen’s Association union and the United States Maritime Alliance have failed to reach an agreement on a new, six-year contract. A strike would involve nearly 15,000 ILA members at 14 ports along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, including 3,250 ILA members at the Port of New York and New Jersey. The port accounts for 280,000 jobs and more than $48 billion in economic activity, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
“Any disruption to port activity will negatively affect tens of thousands of local jobs as well as both the regional and the national economies,” the agency said in a statement Thursday.
The National Retail Federation has urged President Obama to invoke his authority under the Taft-Hartley Act to intervene. So far, the administration has been able keep the two sides talking voluntarily, through requests by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. Thursday, a White House spokesman told the Associated Press that the administration was urging labor and management to reach a deal “as quickly as possible.”
Oh, so now they want action as quickly as possible? Where have they been the past few months? By the way, you’ll be paying a lot more for basic items in 2013. Hope you don’t drink too much milk.