Contract Extension Averts East Coast Ports Strike

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
December 28, 2012

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The union representing longshoremen at East Coast ports has agreed to a 30-day contract extension, averting a potential strike on Sunday.  A work stoppage would have a big effect on the region’s economy.

Joe Seneca is an economics professor at Rutgers. He says there are an enormous amount of jobs connected with the ports in North and South Jersey.
“An estimate of $48 billion in economic activity as result just in New Jersey of the Port work, and if you take that on a weekly basis that’s nearly a billion dollars a week. So it could quickly add up even in a short strike.”

New Jersey Retail Merchants Association president John Holub says store managers are making contingency plans in case the contract dispute is not settled and there’s a strike next month.

“There are other ports in the country that won¹t be impacted. So retailers can ship in things from the West Coast ports and from Canada, but obviously those come at a cost.  The longer distance you have to travel the greater expense it will be to  retailers to get the products on the shelves.”

Those increased costs could lead to higher prices at the stores.


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