San Francisco bar pilots ask for too much
May 15, 2012
When making a list of the several elements working against the competitive position of the Port of Oakland, we can now add one more: the San Francisco Bar Pilots.
The port has been besieged by anarchists; arbitrarily taxed by city government; and held hostage by dockside labor during wildcat strikes. Major ocean cargo carriers have kept the faith through all of this, recognizing Oakland’s strategic advantage for outbound calls. But if bar pilots are to win their bid for higher salaries, the cost of doing business here may simply become too onerous.
A bill currently pending the in the California state legislature would permit the Bar Pilots to earn more than half a million dollars a year for working a part time job. Granted, the work is dangerous and demands highly-skilled professionals. But they are currently being compensated far better than their peers elsewhere in the world.
Where is the so-called labor “solidarity” when it comes to issues like this? Clearly, if the beneficial cargo owners take their business elsewhere, jobs on the waterfront will be in jeopardy.
Fortunately, the issue is finally getting the attention it deserves. State regulators have initiated investigations of the price gouging taking place in the San Francisco Bay and other Northern California waterways.
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