Bill Virgin’s column (TNT, 3-6) on last year’s port slowdown is an oversimplification of a complex problem.
The Washington Council on International Trade’s self-reported loss computation is not corroborated by either The New York Times or Lloyd’s List, both of whom followed the West Coast slowdown closely. Factors such as freight rate deterioration and global unrest also were important causes.
Virgin’s analysis is similar to previous News Tribune accounts of 61 employer-longshore written contracts. Since 1905 The News Tribune and its predecessors have used employer-provided “facts” to focus on longshore wages without mentioning the “golden goose” profits of the major shipping lines.