By AWB President Kris Johnson and Jon DeVaney, president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association
The contract dispute between West Coast dockworkers unions and the Pacific Maritime Association has nearly ground Seattle and Tacoma port traffic to a halt at the worst possible time. In our trade-heavy state, businesses are rightly worried this contract standstill could lead to a complete work stoppage.
According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), when a breakdown in contract negotiations resulted in a 10-day lockout in 2002, it cost the U.S. economy an estimated $1 billion a day, and took half a year to clear the backlog. A shutdown now could be even more costly, an estimated $2 billion each day, according to a study conducted by NAM and the National Retail Federation.
Given our dependence on ports for nearly all industries -- imports and exports -- the slowdown could ultimately impact already-stressed state and local budgets.
The timing is devastating for agriculturists and retailers...