Dock strike, the major issue…

Dock strike, the major issue (and it’s not money)

The big stumbling block to a renegotiated labor agreement is technology. Shipping and terminal companies want to replace hundreds of unionized clerks with labor-saving devices, such as bar codes and scanners.

Since the 1960s, when mechanization first became an issue, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has not stood in the way of progress, even as it lost tens of thousands of unionized jobs to technological advances. Labor’s only insistence has been that the high-tech workers who remain be protected by union contracts. At stake are good jobs that workers need to preserve a middle-class standard of living.

The maritime association wants the jobs to be nonunion.