Looming strike would impact Port of Wilmington

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Submitted: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 9:29pm
Updated: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 12:02am

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s a big employer in the Cape Fear region, but this weekend some workers could hit the picket lines and impact how things move through the State Port of Wilmington. It would be the first longshoremen work stoppage since 1977.

Each day tons of imported and exported goods come in and out of the port.

“Agricultural products, steel products, paper products, forged products, as well as containers that contain a variety of different commodities and goods,” NC Ports Authority Deputy Executive Director Jeff Miles said.

Since the introduction of automated cargo in the late 1960s the International Longshoremen’s Association has been paid a fee based on container tonage. Over the next 25 years the United States Maritime Alliance, which represents the shipping industry, wants to eliminate that fee. It’s a proposal that has longshoremen ready to jump ship and hit the picket lines.

“It was intended to be an offset to the lost wages the longshoremen experienced when they transitioned from break-bulk to containerized cargo,” Miles said. “Those rates have been escalating over the years, and the disagreement right now is about the rate of escalation and whether or not they might be subject to capping in terms of total expense.”

If the two sides cannot come to an agreement by the Sunday deadline, about 250 longshoremen could walk out of the Port of Wilmington.

“The short-term effect would be minimal, and it will only affect the container operation, which is about one third of what we do here at the port in terms of overall volume,” Miles said. “The long term effects would be that cargo that comes in from Asia that goes into the consumer market might be constrained in its availability.”

We tried contacting both the International Longshoremen’s Association and United States Maritime Alliance for this story, but both declined comment.

The White House is calling for the two sides to meet and workout a deal to avoid a strike.


  • Guest 211 says:


  • Guestri says:

    how many folks would love to do those jobs for way less? greedy.

  • Guest 211 says:


  • Bodhisattva says:

    this quote on that website…
    Q. Did Obama start the free phones program?

    A. The cell phone distribution program did begin in 2008, the year Obama was elected president….


  • Vog46 says:

    I agree – but keep in mind what is and whats not an entitlement program. Social Security is not an entitlement and does not play ANY PART in the deficit. IT is currently solvent and still takes in more than it pays out. It will need a boost as the last baby boomers retire but this is easily accomplished, not by raising taxes, but by broadening the base to which the Soc Security tax is applied. Right now income above $125K is not taxed for Soc Sec. Increase that to $250K and the problem is solved.

    As for Medicare – means testing will help as will increasing the eligibility age to 67 – but I wonder about this. The last 2 years of your life are the highest levels of Medicare use — so a person who is 67 uses far less Medicare than he does just before he/she dies. It’s that old death panel thing again.
    But the CDC and other outfits are correct in that programs like Tricare (military HC bennys) and Medicare are the most efficient means of providing health care to many people.
    Its a tough subject.
    I have already proposed several other spending cuts and consolidations that could be done, however until such time as BOTH sides get real about things we won’t see any improvements.


  • Vog46 says:

    Here’s a quote from SCT’s post:
    “Start with those free Obama cell phones.”

    So yeah he DID say Obama’s free cell phone program.
    AND yes the program did start under Reagan as a free or discounted land line program called Lifeline – which has been upgraded to cell phones.
    Frivolous entitlement?
    Yeah I can go along with that to a point
    Did you know that the major carriers refurbish cell phones that have been traded in for this program? In some states it’s far cheaper to do this than dispose of them….

  • GuestTBagger says:

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”

    ― John Kenneth Galbraith

  • Vog46 says:

    The Republican lead House committee on Agriculture and the Democratic Senate Committee on Agriculture and both agreeing to farm subsidies for dairy farmers.
    And both parties included Soybean and other crops in it too. Here’s a quote:
    “Grain, soybean and cotton growers would get another round of the $5 billion “direct payment” subsidy that all sides agreed to kill in a new farm bill. The payments are made regardless of need. Reformers say the payments are unjustified when crop prices and farm income are at near-record levels.”

    Neither party – neither Chamber – is serious about debt reduction or cutting entitlement programs for individuals or corporations.
    Where are the Republicans who touted “free markets”???????


  • Siddhartha says:

    The program was going to start in 2008 even if Mc Cain would have won??? Your point is so simple but still not valid.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    I never mentioned Social Security or Medicare.

    I did mention Medicaid for undocumented individuals; I mentioned long term unemployment with regards to those physically and mentally able to work.

    I think you made a good suggestion on improving the Social Security funding as long as it is accompanied by provisions which prevent the Feds from raiding it as though it is a private piggy bank for entitlement spending.

    Bring the troops home; unless I am mistaken, they are due out of Afghanistan in 2014. I’ve got no problem with closing up the 19 or 20 bases on Okinawa. Let the Japanese defend their own borders and participate in presenting a united front against the Chinese and North Koreans. Then station enough on both the Canadian and Mexican borders to keep our borders secure.

  • GuestGeorge says:

    Oh please!!e are all going to pay,and more than most of us can afford.Wake up and think about the ramifications of what you voted for in November.

  • taxpayer says:

    Guest7969. Affordable Dentures will be happy to make you a set of false teeth when yours rot from too much Kool-Aid.

    Obama has put nothing…I repeat…nothing on the table. Harry Reid is in lock-step with your president.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    will be more than happy to work toward a settlement of the cliff issue. As soon as the White House Occupant and all of the liberal Democrats accept there must be significant cuts in entitlement and discretionary spending. They have not hit that. Everything they propose is down the road and not effective in the upcoming fiscal year.

    Start with those free Obama cell phones. Move on to long term unemployment benefits; they’re going to end anyway if a deal is not cut; why should someone physically and mentally able require nearly 3 years of unemployment benefits. Cut Medicaid for the undocumented workers and their families.

    There are a few cuts right there. But you will never see Reid or Pelosi agree to them.

  • Vog46 says:

    A multi faceted approach is needed – one that addresses IMMEDIATE needs and one that addresses long term debt resolution.
    First – immediate need. Congress has for years approved, automatically debt ceiling increases NEVER was this an issue until Obama became President. We need to get away from the debt ceiling fights but this requires IMMEDIATE monies not savings over a decade. So, Immediately end the wars in Iraq and Afpakistan and raise revenues to end the constant fighting over the debt. Bring the current wars back into the budget instead of off the books.
    Long term – across the board cuts of 3% for next year and 2% the year after.
    Let the Bush tax cuts expire as they were LEGISLATED TO DO.
    Means testing for Medicare/caid.
    Increase the level of income that is taxed for Soc Sec from it’s
    current cap to $500K. Ramp up eligibility age from 65 to 67 and eventually to 70 for Soc Sec.
    Institute a tax on financial transactions to include stock purchases. One quarter percent on the seller side and one quarter percent on the buyers side. Disallow the hiding of monies overseas. Eliminate the carry over tax deductions.
    Change the corporate tax. Reduce it to 16%. Then, for every 7500 jobs that a company brigs back to the U.S., from overseas – give that company an additional 1% reduction. So a company that brings in 15,000 jobs their corporate tax is 14%.
    If this works – then, and ONLY then should unemployment extensions be eliminated.
    Eliminate the Depts of Education and Commerce and use the savings to give block grant monies to states for education and commerce.
    Combine EPA and Dept of Labor and call it the Dept of Development.

    Then streamline the tax code with a cap on deduction amounts for all filers.
    Require that the government operate at a profit with all extra monies going to debt reduction. Once debt is below 7% of GDP then balance the budget using revenue reductions ONLY (tax cuts). Then for future budgets – any spending must be paid for in the CURRENT fiscal year and any revenue reductions must be accompanied by an equal spending reduction
    None of this will happen of course as both parties love to cut taxes and all have the pet projects they will not cut…..


  • Guest7969 says:

    you even read my post? I am NO Obama supporter, however, the FACT remains that he DID move to 400,000 for tax increases and the House Speaker declined and went to Plan B, which FAILED. I am NOT saying that it was a GREAT deal, but it was a MOVE by the President. THEN the House left for vacation, which is BS!

    BTW, we are a REPUBLIC…hes YOUR President as well. Like it or not. Again, read my post, an Obama Lama Ding Dong supporter I am NOT…BUT I can also see how BOTH SIDES are being RIDICULOUS here! On another note, I one move the DEMOCRATS made recently that surprised the CRAP out of me and I agree with is..NOT RAISING THE AGE for Medicare…STOP raising the bar, start fixing the problem!

  • Old program says:

    Obama did not start the program giving free phone use to the poor. It began over ten years before he took office. It is sad you may have seen a youtube video of someone who I dare says is more misinformed than you and now you think what that whackjob said is the truth. Or perhaps a propaganda based mass email gave you the idea. I wish people would do some fact checking before running with an untruth just because it serves their views. If you want the facts on the program…check out this link that explains it. http://www.freegovernmentcellphones.net/faq/obama-phone

  • Guest CommonTater says:

    obama started the program? I don’t see it.

    The true fact here, that you seem to want to sweep under the rug, is this program, as well as many other frivolous entitlements should be cut. Your attempt at deflection is obvious…..

  • taxpayer says:

    the shipping companies and dockworkers to come to an agreement, his philosophy with respect to the “fiscal cliff” is…”It’s my way or the highway.”

  • Guest7969 says:

    Am the last one to give Obama praise…but your wrong..the President moved to 400,000 from 250,000 before Christmas..the House refused to work with it.

  • Guest7969 says:

    Let them all go and hire some people wanting to work…

  • SurfCityTom says:

    all the talk about the fiscal cliff and the questionable economy for 2013.

    It is rather hard to feel sorrow for union members who earn an average of $125,000 per member; at least that’s the number quoted in the News & Observer.

    And clearly, they are all concerned about the impact on other port labor who may lose out if the port shuts down while they strike.

    And all over an issue which will not affect current union members. Only new hires would be impacted; and yet they would still be in line for $100,000 to start.

    Did they read about Hostess?

    Well here’s a test for the White House occupant. Will he have the stones to invoke Taft-Hartley to keep them working?

  • allen says:

    i am ready to work.

  • Guestk says:

    Firstly, we are not only talking about this strike only in Wilmington, but every East Coast and Gulf ports which, depending on the length of the strike, could be another devestating blow to the US economy!

    Miles makes it sound like this will mostly effect goods coming from Asia, but what he doesn’t say is that we have a growing export business of American made goods to all parts of the world, and these containers will sit at port stranded waiting on the strike to lift and be loaded and shipped. The companies handling the export shipments are left waiting to get paid which can only happen after the goods ship, the foreign customers who have purchased our goods are waiting for their important shipments (reducing the confidence of the market), and the companies that depend on the foregn market in this time of domestic bottom out of sales recently will potentially face closure.

    This is important to know, and so real. This strike is Americans hurting Americans. Our own people are holding our goods and our livings hostage for their own gain. In this time of economic struggle, the web of dependency on one another is crucial, and so many are fighting for just enough to pay mortgages, taxes, and put food on the tables for their families. I think this is domestic terrorism in a sense, and our President needs to step in and do the needed to force this strike to never take place.

  • GuestO says:

    I agree with the points you make regarding how much larger the impact of this potential strike are. The ILA workers are blessed with good jobs, income and benefits – the like of which Wilmington rarely achieves though would love to have. I would guess the interview with the port executive lasted significantly longer than the 30 seconds of air time WWAY alotted – certainly the port would like to see the strike avoided as well for their employees & revenues.

  • Guestarticulatore says:

    The ILA is threatening to strike if it doesn’t get paid for doing nothing…. Just who do they think they are? Corporate executives??

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