Union members for decades called non-union strike-breakers “scabs.” They used violence against them. That was because they were thugs.
In the contest between the scabs and the thugs, the consumers’ best interests were always upheld by the scabs.
Soon, consumers will be facing the negative effects of a closing of the ports of California. A strike is looming. The longshoremen will walk off the job.
They could be replaced by robots. Sometime over the next 20 years, this will happen.
Why are there no robots working as longshoremen? Because the National Labor Relations Board won’t let them replace the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
If robots were working the docks, this could not happen.
The West Coast ports could be approaching a labor strike. After nine months of labor negotiations, the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have been unable to reach an agreement, and it could mean the complete shutdown of the West Coast Ports, according to Kurt Strasmann, senior managing director of the port logistics group at CBRE.
“They are very close to the tipping point, and I think most people would agree that we are at the very end of the rope,” Strasmann tells GlobeSt.com. “Some people have come in to help mediate, but they could shut it down any day. This is a very important time right now.” A strike would mean the complete shutdown of the five West Coast ports: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle and Tacoma. The result would cost the national economy $2 billion per day, and have a significant impact on the Southern California economy—where the combination of the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports account for 35-40% of all goods coming in to the country. The West coast ports together account for 44% of the total goods coming into the country, which equates to 12.5% of US GDP.
There will come a day — not too far in the future — when the NLRB will not be able to lock up the last few union-controlled labor markets. The American consumers will not face this prospect.
“There is going to be tremendous pressure on both groups because the port drives so much business, and it is so important, not just to the West Coast, but to the national economy,” adds Strasmann. “Long Beach and Los Angeles alone account for 40% of all goods coming in, and that directly affects a lot of different types of companies.”
The dispute is over compensation, pension packages and benefits packages. The last dispute was in 2002, the last time the contracts were up for negotiation. That dispute resulted in a 10-day shutdown of the ports, and cost the economy $1 billion per day. Companies are either forced to reroute to Vancouver or through the Panama Canal to the gulf ports and the Southeast ports, or wait it out and hope that the dispute ends soon. However, everyday that a ship stays out in the port and is not able to unload, it costs upwards of $50,000 per day, according to Strasmann.
Today, there are programmers working to solve this problem. Their programs will power robots who can easily replace the NLRB-protected workers in California ports — and all other ports.
We are seeing the last gasp of American trade unionism. Unions cannot organize robots. Robots do not go on strike.