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Strike Could Shut Down East Coast Ports for Importers

December 21, 2012

The Longshoremen's Union is in heated contract negotiations with 14 ports along the East Coast and Gulf Coast. If an agreement isn't reached by December 30th, it could mean a strike.

At issue are the bonuses longshoremen get based on the amount of cargo they unload. U.S. port operators want to cap those bonuses—which often top $10,000 a year.

"We are looking at a shipping cliff if they don't settle," says Harley Shaiken, a labor economist at the University of California Berkeley. He says nearly half of the cargo shipped to and from the U.S. goes through these ports.

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