From the October 2002 Idaho Observer:

Longshoreman strike: It ain't about health benefits

by The Idaho Observer

“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

The quote above, in varying but similar forms, has been attributed to Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- political frontman for the New Deal and father of American socialism. Though this FDR quote pops up now and again, we have yet to locate the time and place he said it. FDR was president during the depression, a manufactured event. To extricate the nation from its intentionally rigged economic collapse, FDR liberally interpreted the Constitution to fund a slew of new government agencies and corresponding government programs. Because FDR managed the appearance of putting a nation back to work and people received money and favors from the government, no one questioned the attack on individual freedom that the New Deal really was. FDR also, it has been proven, had advance knowledge of the Japanese attack in Pearl Harbor and that Americans had to die so they would willingly go to war against the Japanese.

The socio/political fallout of the New Deal and Pearl Harbor are here. If FDR was right and nothing in politics happens by accident, and it appears that he would have been an authority on the subject, then what we are experiencing now is merely a continuation of events that have been unfolding since the first politician was elected into office.

All that to say it would be naive to believe that international commerce is being shut down by a handful of blue collar workers who refuse to join the computer age and want a better health care package. The truth, as always, will not be found in either the words or the actions of people which are subject to interpretation. The truth will be revealed over time in the outcome of these events.

The International Longshore Warehouse Union (ILWU), part of the AFL-CIO, is an international brotherhood of blue-collar dockworkers who have managed to wield such power they can shut down a significant portion of the $multi-trillion international commerce industry because they demand better medical benefits.

According to Steven Greenhouse of the New York Times, full-time west coast dockworkers make nearly $100,000 per year and the clerks who support their loading and unloading activities average $120,000 annually. On top of their high-end salary, Longshoremen enjoy a benefits package that averages $42,000 per year.

Another area of dispute is the frustration that has developed between the shipping company owners and the Longshoremen with regard to technology. While shipping companies have upgraded to the electronic age, Longshoremen have not. The shippers are having trouble interfacing with Longshoremen and are “outsourcing” some work that by contract belongs to ILWU workers.

Longshoremen have struck several times throughout their history and have generally gotten whatever they want. Management and the Pacific Maritime Association, which primarily represents the shipping companies in labor disputes with the ILWU, are hesitant to hire scabs to work the docks because expensive and deadly errors with inexperienced crane operators are an extremely valid concern.

Though Longshoremen have held firm on their committment to hold out for better benefits and will not move commercial cargo, they will be available to move military equipment and will still work with commercial cruise ships.

But what's it really all about?

The fact that this story is being so underreported while the stream of commerce has been dammed during a period of economic and political uncertainty is rather curious.

Though the proof will be in the results, as there are no accidents in politics, let's properly identify the playing field:

Workers are pawns. ILWU is part of the American Federation of Labor / Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) which has traditionally been linked to organized crime. Organized crime orchestrates international commerce -- both legal and illegal. International commerce is conducted under the auspices of international commerce and alliance treaties. Commerce and alliance treaties are agreed upon by heads of state.

So, ultimately, the $multi-trillion international trade industry is run by organized crime and heads of state -- not dockworkers. Dockworkers do not want to thrust the world into socio/political and economic chaos, but that is what will likely happen if this goes on much longer. If chaos happens, you can bet it was planned that way.

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