http://www.digitaljournal.com/business/business/longshore-union-strike-may-cripple-shaky-usa-recovery/article/388138

Longshore Union strike may cripple shaky U.S. recovery

Posted Jun 29, 2014 by Larry Clifton
The International Longshore and Warehouse Association Union (ILWU) is set to mimic a Canadian truck drivers strike that brought operations in Canada’s biggest port to its knees for 28 days in March.
US President Barack Obama arrives for the second day of the G7 summit at the European Council headqu...
US President Barack Obama arrives for the second day of the G7 summit at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, on June 5, 2014
Georges Gobet, AFP
Union bosses at ILWU are considering a strike that would cost the U.S. economy up to $2.5 billion a day should 30 ports between San Diego, Calif. and Bellingham, Wash. suffer prolonged strikes. Reportedly, west-coast ports employ about 13.600 dockworkers, according to a Wall Street OTC report published Sunday.
Threats of a massive ILWU strike come on the heels of an unexpected and severe contraction of the U.S. economy during the first quarter of this year.
The Commerce Department reported a -2.9 percent shrinkage during first quarter, a troubling contrast when compared to prior estimates of a much smaller -1.8 percent drop. The sharp drop in economic productivity makes it difficult for the Obama administration to sell its economic recovery between now and midterm elections only months away.
It was not immediately clear just how much damage a major West Coast port strike would do to the already slowest economic recovery in modern history.
A current study from the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and National Retail Federation (NRF) by economists at the Interindustry Forecasting Project at the University of Maryland claims “a protracted dispute between the negotiating parties could lead to reduced or shuttered terminal operations for an extended period.” The report added, “If such disruptions occur, the economic impact would be significant and widespread.”
The implications of a West Coast port strike lasting not nearly as long as the 28-day Canadian truckers strike are troubling, according to economists:
According to the study:
A 5-day stoppage would:
Reduce GDP $1.9 billion a day;
Disrupt 73,000 jobs; and
Cost the average household $81 in purchasing power.
A 10-day stoppage would:
Reduce GDP $2.1 billion a day;
Disrupt 169,000 jobs; and
Cost the average household $170 in purchasing power.
A 20-day stoppage would:
Reduce GDP $2.5 billion a day;
Disrupt 405,000 jobs; and
Cost the average household $366 in purchasing power.
“It is important for the parties at the table as well as others to fully understand the economic consequences of a port disruption,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.