A possible Dockworkers Union strike could force the Port of Houston Authority to shutter its two container terminals. They are working with Customs and Border Protection to extend work hours leading up to December 30 so cargo can be cleared out.
December 30 is when the dockworkers of the International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA) could possibly go on strike and stop moving cargo until management and union representatives can reach an amiable agreement. This agreement affects a master contract that could reach from the Texas Gulf to Maine.
Negotiations had been halted last week as the two parties were unable to reach said agreement over the extension of certain contracts. As of today, no further meetings have been scheduled.
A strike would force the closing of the Bayport and Barbours Cut, which generate 60 percent of the Port Authority’s revenue. The post said:
“If agreement is not reached prior to the above-mentioned deadline, the (Port of Houston Authority’s) container terminals will be closed until the parties reach resolution at the national level. The Port Authority is concerned about this anticipated work stoppage and remains hopeful that if it occurs, it will be short in duration.”
The post also says:
“Port Authority staff is maintaining regular communications on this matter with the container carriers calling its terminals, as well as representatives of the ILA members who work those terminals.”
Johnathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Federation, had this to say:
“Some already have decided to move cargo to the West Coast or to bring it earlier to the East Coast. From what most folks have told me, they’re going to decide in the next week whether they’re going to pull the trigger.”
James Capo, head of the US Maritime Alliance has accused the union of taking advantage of loose overtime rules to make the New York-New Jersey ports the most expensive in the world. The alliance claims one-third of ILA workers there make more than $200,000 per year, not counting bonuses, claims the Christian Science Monitor.
While it is unclear if the negotiations will happen in time to prevent a strike, it is clear that said strike could affect the economy all over the US.