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West Coast Dock Workers Strike Could Cost $2 Billion A Day

Dole Trucks at the Port of San Diego on May 13, 2008.

Audio

Aired 11/10/14

The national economy could take a multi-billion dollar hit this holiday season if there's a strike linked to contract talks between the West Coast shippers and dock workers.

The national economy could take a multi-billion dollar hit this holiday season if there's a strike linked to contract talks between the West Coast shippers and dock workers.

San Diego's port will be affected if the dispute leads to a work stoppage.

Freight traffic moving through the West Coast's 29 ports could come to a standstill if labor issues aren't resolved.

The 13,600 International Longshore and Warehouse Union members have been working under terms of an expired contract since May. The nation's retailers and manufacturers predict a strike could cost the U.S. economy $2 billion a day.

San Diego State University Management Professor Martina Musteen said the impact would be pretty disastrous.

"Particularly for the small retailers, because the larger retailers, they are more flexible. But the smaller retailers, for them this can be the difference between life and death," Musteen said.

Both sides had been issuing joint statements about contract talks. That stopped late last week.

There was also word that dock workers in Seattle and Tacoma were slowing down the amount of cargo they process in an effort to put pressure on negotiators. Union officials denied that was the case.

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