Union Strikes Disrupt Thanksgiving

Americans are bracing for chaos in their holiday travel and shopping this week, as labor unions are planning strikes and protests across areas of the country that are likely to cause major troubles during one of the busiest weeks of the year. The SEIU shut down traffic at the Los Angeles airport on Thanksgiving eve and a union-backed advocacy group plans to protest Walmart on Black Friday. And now, reports of worker strikes at West coast ports predict resulting snarls in the supply chain, disrupting deliveries of everything from food to gifts, just in time for the holidays.

Longshore union members at ports in Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles and Long Beach, California are expected to strike during the holiday week over unsettled contract negotiations between workers and the various international shipping companies that employ them. Effected union members include marine terminal security guards, office and clerical workers, and custodial and maintenance workers. While dockworkers aren’t necessarily part of those strikes, such workers may also refuse to cross picket lines in solidarity with other union members, as was already the case in California. Major carriers are planning to divert freighters from the Port of Portland in advance of a strike planned for Sunday.

Custodial and maintenance workers represented by SEIU at Oakland’s port returned to work Wednesday after a one day strike, during which mayor Jean Quan convinced the parties to return to the bargaining table to resume negotiations. But many worry that a strike could still be looming over that port.



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