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President Bush forms board to probe West Coast port crisis


Using his statutory authority under the Taft-Hartley Act, President Bush Oct. 7 created a board of inquiry that will examine the issues surrounding the West Coast port lockout and release a fact-finding public report no later than Oct. 8, including each party's position statement.

If the report shows that the dispute affects a substantial part of the transportation industry and imperils national health or safety, President Bush can direct the attorney general to seek a court injunction to halt the lockout.

An injunction would create an 80-day cooling off period, enabling ports to open and longshoremen to return to work while both sides try to resolve the dispute.

"The health of our economy in every corner of America is in jeopardy because of the dispute," said President Bush in a prepared statement. "In many areas of the economy, layoffs have begun, thousands more jobs may be lost and all Americans may soon begin to pay sharply higher prices for household goods."

Association of American Railroads, which last week embargoed all West Coast-bound container traffic, issued a statement supporting the president’s decision to create the board.

"The Bush Administration has shown strong leadership by taking this action, and we hope the dispute is settled quickly so our nation’s railroads can resume service to the West Coast ports that provide a critical link to the global marketplace," AAR said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/8/2002