Which Side Are You On?

Container ship pulling into Port of Los Angeles. (Photo by Getty Images)

Is $20,000 a lot of money to you? 

It isn’t a lot to the Port of Los Angeles, which handles something on the order of $300 billion in cargo a year. It isn’t a lot to the union bosses who run the place, their coffers being generously topped off with mandatory dues. 

But it is a lot of money to at least one of the port’s customers. 

In April, an undeclared strike shut down the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The union says workers didn’t show up because they were paying rapt attention to a union-leadership vote and then ditched work for Easter. Yeah. As trade journal American Shipper put it, “Labor action at West Coast ports does not have a history of being explicitly confirmed; rather, it takes the form of passive-aggressive behavior that escalates with increasingly implausible deniability.”

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