In last weekâ€™s Beer-O-Nomics, we talked about Trucking from the manufacturer and stateside Ports. Hereâ€™s the next section on Shipping and Guamâ€™s Port. If you missed the first two sections, check it out.
Yes you guessed it, the ships are union too. Thanks to the Jones Act, Guam is assured constant and reliable shipping services that are staffed by sailors who have safe working conditions and earn a decent middle class wage. This has and continues to provide good jobs for many of our people. While some business owners constantly decry the Jones Act because they would like to have slightly lower shipping rates that can be on Flag of Convenience vessels, which operate with slave-like crews who work under unregulated condition, the Jones Act is actually good for Guam. No matter what vessel our container of beer goes onto, the price of fuel and insurance is the same and Los Angeles is a long way away.
Finally my bottle of beer has arrived at our fair shores where it will be unloaded by our people which are also unionized. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, their first contract has yet to be finalized and they are making less than a fifth of what their counter parts make in Los Angeles. Hopefully, they will win justice and a fair and decent wage in the very near future. But the cost of their salaries is fairly insignificant toward the cost of unloading a container from a ship. Heck right off the top $150 per can goes to Matson for the rental of their cranes (they paid off their cost in 6 months and are now just making huge profits at our expense). The good news is that part of the cost of unloading a container that goes to pay our people stays on island and circulates in our economy. The bad news is that a significant portion of it is siphoned off by off-island corporations and contractors.
Read the next section on Trucking on Guam and Warehousing!