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Longshore security officers plan to strike at the Port of Portland Nov. 25 if talks Friday don't produce a contract. A strike by just 25 officers who work at the gates of three terminals would have an outsize effect because fellow members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union would refuse to cross their picket lines.

The latest blow to Port labor relations by the small contingent of officers comes out of left field, usurping two separate conflicts over container and grain shipping that have generated far more publicity. But the West Coast longshore union is the same one involved in a high-profile dispute at the Port's container yard and contentious contract talks with Northwest grain terminal owners.

If the officers strike, damage to Oregon's economy could be far greater than fallout last summer, when a union dispute snarled cargo and truck traffic, leading container vessels to bypass Portland and unions and employers to sue one another. A strike would shut not just the troubled container yard known as Terminal 6, but also Port terminals 2 and 4. They handle auto vessels, soda-ash exports, liquid bulks, other commodities and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredges that maintain river channels essential for shipping.

That 25 union goons can do serious damage to the economy of an entire state can only happen in Liberal Land. Bring it on.

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