Mihaylo alumnus and adjunct professor Jeff Williamson ’03 discusses the impact of the West Coast port strike on PBS’ “Nightly Business Report” on Feb. 24.
Jeff Williamson ’03, adjunct Mihaylo marketing professor and director of the Center for International Trade Development, appeared on “Nightly Business Report,” the daily business and economics news program carried nationwide on PBS, on Feb. 24 to discuss the impact of the West Coast ports strike.
The strike, involving more than 13,000 dock workers at ports along the West Coast, including Long Beach and San Diego, stemmed from a dispute between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). The association and the union reached a tentative five-year deal on Feb. 20 to end the slowdown, though the agreement is yet to be finalized. The impacted ports handle nearly a fourth of U.S. exports, much of it to East Asia and other regions along the Pacific Rim. The slowdown was the latest in a series of port labor conflicts over the past few decades. The latest dispute led the Obama Administration to consider invoking the Taft-Hartley Act, a 1947 law that permits federal intervention in strikes that threaten the nation’s economic health.
Williamson reports that California export-based businesses saw 10% to 50% declines over the past six months. “We are hearing that some companies are losing orders, and the impact of losing an order or a particular sale, it really depends on the situation,” he told “Nightly Business Report.” “If it’s a company that’s trying to land a new retailer, let’s say in Asia or another part of the world, and their initial shipment is delayed, that may not help them in the long run. They might have a lot of problems really securing that account for the long run.”
As an example of the impact, NBR reporter Kate Rogers demonstrated the impact of the nine-month port slowdown by speaking with Paul Cramer of Perris, Calif., based Star Milling Co., a pet and animal feed retailer that ships throughout the Pacific Rim. Cramer reported a loss of $60,000 per week during the slowdown and fears the permanent loss of customers.