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Mobility 21 Warns Against West Coast Port Shutdown

Social media outlets and law enforcement report that organizers of the “West Coast Port Shutdown” are planning to gather at the Harry Bridges Park near the Queen Mary on the morning of Monday, Dec. 12. This group, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement, has made a call to shutdown what they are referring to as “Wall Street on the Waterfront” — including the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

While we can’t predict the exact magnitude and impact the group will have, it is clear that a potential day-long shutdown at the ports could be devastating to workers and businesses who rely on efficient transportation of goods at the ports.

Everything we consume on a daily basis, including the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the items we use to build or repair anything, relies on business done at the ports.

Mobility 21 reached out to the ports to learn what the impacts could be:

  • The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which is the largest workforce within the ports, has not officially supported the group and may have to work overtime to make up for lost time, costing the terminals more money.
  • Truck drivers, who are paid by the load, would probably be the most negatively impacted. There are approximately 5,000 truck drivers a day working at the ports and depending on how many loads they miss, thousands of dollars in wages could be lost.
  • More than $325 billion worth of goods come through the ports, supporting about 800,000 jobs in California. A shutdown at the ports for a day would have a ripple effect on the millions of jobs it supports nationwide.
  • If importers sense significant labor unrest on the West Coast, it is more likely that the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will lose business to the East Coast.

But it’s not just about the jobs here in Southern California. Our region’s ports move nearly 50 percent of the nation’s imported cargo, which impacts 3.4 million jobs nationwide.

At a time when our local and national economies continue to struggle, our workers can’t afford a shutdown at the ports.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Find your U.S. Representative on the right side of our website. Urge your legislator to pass a robust, long-term transportation bill that addresses the importance of goods movement investment. For more message points, see our brochure on goods movement and our fact sheet on why a federal investment in transportation is so important.
  • Join us by signing up to receive Mobility 21 e-mails at the top right of our webpage. We’ll let you know when we need you to urgently send an email or make a phone call to your representative.

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