According to the New York Times, workers have apparently walked off to protest the actions of Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, which performs background checks on new dockworkers and companies. A representative of their union explained to a local radio station that the actions of the Waterfront Commission and its requirements for those licenses were preventing new workers from being hired, and the port from being run efficiently. The port of Red Hook in Brooklyn remains open, but others shut down.
“…Both sides [the union and the cargo companies] have been fighting the Waterfront Commission, especially in the last five years, over the right to bring new workers on, the right to operate their ports the way they think they should be operated,” International Longshoremen’s Association spokesman Jin McNamara explained to radio station WINS.
Any problems at cargo ports can have far-reaching effects on the entire world’s economy. Last year, the unloading of cargo at ports up and down the West Coast slowed down significantly, affecting everything from the fortunes of closeout stores to the availability of French fries in Venezuela to the assembly of Japanese companies’ cars in the United States.
New York-Area Ports Shut Down as Longshoremen Walk Off the Job [New York Times]