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This Needs to Stop

At a time when the economy doesn't need it, we have an expensive labor lockout at West Coast ports:

The Bush administration said it was monitoring the shutdown, which some economists say will cost the economy $1 billion a day for the first five days, with the cost rising exponentially if it lasts several weeks.
What's the problem? Why are labor and management arguing?
Dividing the parties is the issue of technology on the docks. The port employers want to install electronic gear to automatically clear trucks in and out of terminals and track cargo within the terminals. Currently, much of that work is done manually by ILWU marine clerks.

But the ILWU is concerned that such technology threatens the union's jurisdiction on the waterfront and many union jobs. Annual salaries for ILWU members, who load and unload cargo, average about $106,000 for those working 40 hours or more a week. Marine clerks, who type in data and keep track of cargo, earn about $128,000 a year, on average if they work a similar number of hours. Foremen, working full time, have an average annual salary of $166,000.

Let me see if I have this straight: people who make up to $166,000 per year as cargo handlers, data entry clerks, and supervisors are resisting the introduction of technology that would make the ports more efficient.

Okay, this needs to stop right now.

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