Will These Labor Unions Ruin Christmas?

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Two major unions are continuing protests through the holiday shopping season against companies trying to make sure gifts get out in time.

The West Coast port slowdowns and the latest rounds of Amazon walkouts in Germany have caused significant problems for their respective companies in the midst of the holidays.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has been using work slowdowns as a tactic to pressure the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) during negotiations. The slowdowns, which began in October, have created concern over what impact it may have on holiday shopping.

The slowdowns have caused the most congestion at Los Angeles and Long Beach, the nation’s two busiest shipping hubs. Together the two ports handle 43 percent of all container cargo entering the United States, according to The Global Post.

Union delegates from all 29 ports are expected to review the status of talks when they convened in San Francisco on Monday for a caucus. However the session may end early to allow negotiations to resume.

In an earlier statement Wade Gates, a spokesman for the PMA, told Daily Caller News Foundation, “Further instability on the West Coast docks could lead to permanent losses of cargo and jobs.”

At the same time, the German trade union Verdi has begun a three-day strike over wages at Amazon shipping warehouses.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Verdi has called for “a wave of strikes” starting Monday at nine locations across Germany, including Graben, Leipzig, Bad Hersfeld, Rheinberg and Werne. The strike is scheduled to go on until Wednesday.

This is the most recent in a wave of strikes going back to 2013. The strikes are aimed at pressuring Amazon to negotiate wage agreements for its 10,000 permanent logistics workers in Germany. The union also wants Amazon to categorize the employees as retail rather than logistics industry workers.

Amazon did not respond to inquiries from The Daily Caller News Foundation about whether these strikes could have any U.S. impact.

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