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Time runs short to avert longshoremen’s strike

December 27, 2012 • Business


FILE – In this Dec. 18, 2012 file photo, a truck driver watches as a freight container, right, is lowered onto a tractor trailer by a container crane at the Port of Boston in Boston. The crane and a reach stacker, left, are operated by longshoremen at the port. The longshoremen’s union may strike if they are unable to reach an agreement on their contract, which expires Dec. 29, 2012. A walkout by dock workers represented by the International Longshoremen’s Association would bring commerce to a near halt at ports from Boston to Houston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — In just a few days, a walkout by thousands of dock workers could bring commerce to a near standstill at every major port from Boston to Houston, potentially delivering a big blow to retailers and manufacturers still struggling to find their footing in a weak economy.

More than 14,000 longshoremen are threating to go on strike Sunday — a wide-ranging work stoppage that would immediately close cargo ports on the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico to container ships.

The 15 ports involved in the labor dispute move more than 100 million tons of goods each year, or about 40 percent of the nation’s containerized cargo traffic. Losing them to a shutdown, even for a few days, could cost the economy billions of dollars.

“If the port shuts down, nothing moves in or out,” said Jonathan Gold, vice president of Login to read more

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