So here is an interesting article from http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ports-labor-20121130,0,2659465,full.story] LA times[/url], not typically considered a hotbed of tea party anti-union sentitment: Here is the money quote: “Stephen Berry, lead negotiator for the shipping lines and cargo terminals, said the clerical workers have been offered a deal that includes "absolute job security," a raise that would take average annual pay to $195,000 from $165,000, 11 weeks' paid vacation and a generous pension increase.” These are jobs which require a lot of attention to detail and high end clerical skills, but don't require any college degree much less an advanced degree. It sounds to me like this is a job equivalent in demand to a paralegal but without the requirement of legal training. Paralegals in LA tend to make an average in the range of $70K per year (varying by location and type of practice.) So even if you disregard the management reps assertion of a $195K per year offer, the current pay is $165K per year, which the union considers grossly inadequate, so bad that it is necessary to cause a strike which is screwing the LA economy of hundreds of millions per day? WTF? Really, I mean WTF???. I am a strong proponent of the labor movement as an integrated working/middle class movement, and when unions behave as part of a progressive coalition, I strongly favor them. I also feel that most criticism of unions is conservative BS, and that without unions the American middle and working class would get forced into a nasty "race to the bottom" with cheap labor, which would lower standards of living for the large majority of Americans. But from time to time, individual unions will focus on their narrow self interests and end up making every union in the country look like greedy idiots. This is one of those times. All of the above assumes that the LA Times article is well researched and that the reporter did not get snookered by management propaganda. But IMO despite conservative hatred of the times, it is actually a pretty damn good journalism site, and not at all pro-conservative. So, assuming the article is more or less accurate, I have to think that the maritime clerks are screwing the overall labor movement and the entire LA economy out of narrow self interest. This is one of those times that if there were an initiave on this type of issue, I would vote to throw the union under the bus.