Baltimore Maryland: Negotiations over a new contract between the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), the union representing East Coast dockworkers and the US Maritime Alliance (shippers and port operators) are deadlocked. The union could call a strike if the current contract expires without a resolution, paralyzing Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports.
The White House urged dockworkers, port owners and shippers to resolve the labor dispute quickly. The White House offered no comment as to whether President Obama would consider invoking the federal Taft-Hartley Act to impose an 80 day cooling off period.
State and federal politicians in Maryland (MD), a Democratic (blue) state, were very concerned over the ramifications of lost jobs and lost revenue on the state's fragile economic recovery from the 2008 recession. These officials called the White House and were informed the president could only be reached when he returned from his Hawaii vacation.
Soon after Air Force One touched down at Andrews Air Force Base Maryland a number of calls were received at the White House switchboard, all intended for the president and forwarded to the Oval Office.
Democratic MD Governor: Mr. President, while I support labor, the economic health of the State of Maryland is at risk. This dock strike will again force me to raise taxes on the state's residents because of lost revenue, which I will probably do anyway. I also want your job in 2016 and need labor's support. Please do something!
President Obama: I am away from my desk right now, please state your name, phone number and a brief message at the beep and I will get back to you. If you are calling about the possibility of an East Coast dockworkers strike, not to worry, as I have great confidence that my Democratic labor supporters will be fair with their rich Republican business owners. If you have further questions call my Secretary of Labor at 201-DEM-NLRB. Have a nice day! (All subsequent calls received the same response.)
US Democratic MD Senior Senator: Mr. President, I am a US Senator and I am also a US Senator from Maryland worried about a potential dock strike. While I support labor, the economic health of the State of Maryland is at risk. I am the new Chairman of the US Senate Appropriations Committee and any funding that your administration requires has to go through my committee. Please do something!
US Democratic MD Junior Senator: Mr. President, while I support labor, the economic health of the State of Maryland is at risk. However, if there is a dock strike the citizens of Maryland who live around the Baltimore port area will breathe less Diesel fumes for awhile. It is imperative that the new contract should also have such Diesel fume provisions. Please do something!
US House Democratic Minority Whip (MD): Mr. President while, I support labor, the economic health of the State of Maryland is at risk. I know the reasons for a potential dock strike have been caused by the Republicans in the US House of Representatives. Please do something!
Democratic Mayor of Baltimore MD: Mr. President, while I support labor, the economic health of the city of Baltimore is at risk. My city has a crime problem, a tax base problem and a decaying infrastructure. A dock strike would inhibit a good source of revenue, forcing me to raise the sugary soft drink bottle tax to $5.00 per bottle and speed camera fines to $500 per mile over the speed limit. Please do something!
US House Democratic Minority Leader (CA): Mr. President, while I support labor, the economic health of the state of Maryland is at risk. I feel that the previous Bush administration may have had a hand in causing this potential dock strike. I now reside in California, but I was born in Baltimore MD, and I urge you to get all parties to sign a new contract which can be read at a later time. Please do something!
Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney released a statement that the president will be cliff diving for the rest of the week. The president wishes everybody a Happy New Year!