Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Statement on President's Decision to Invoke Taft-Hartley Act in West Coast Port Lock-Out

October 8, 2002




Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued the following statement this afternoon after President Bush invoked the Taft-Hartley Act to reopen West Coast ports:

"One week ago, the shipping companies that operate our West Coast ports locked their gates to keep out their workers, the members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

"Even before the ILWU contract expired at the end of June, Bush Administration officials signaled a willingness to intervene on behalf of the shipping companies. As a result, the shippers had no incentive to bargain in good faith with the union.

"Instead, in callous disregard of the effects on the American economy, the shippers chose to close the ports and keep them closed. American workers both on and off the docks have lost their wages. American businesses and farmers are losing revenue as their goods and produce pile up on the docks. American companies are being forced to idle their assembly lines as they wait for supplies and parts.

"Today’s decision by the President to invoke the Taft-Hartley Act -- the first time in history it has been used to end a lockout, rather than a strike -- is a drastic step. It reflects the failure of the Administration to encourage the shippers to bargain in good faith with the union.

"I hope that the shippers will not continue to hide behind the powers of the federal government and will sit down with the union, with the assistance of federal mediators as needed, to draw up a new contract that will provide for a mutually beneficial working relationship."


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