In response to the ongoing slowdown of operations at West Coast ports due to prolonged labor negotiations, Mickey Kantor penned an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday on the impending economic consequences should the dispute continue to go unresolved. Kantor is a former U.S. trade representative, and served as Secretary of Commerce during the Clinton administration.
Highlights from the op-ed are below and the full piece can be read here: http://lat.ms/1Ft55XL
As management and labor have wrangled over terms for a new long-term contract, the slowdown has been a logistical nightmare for companies dependent on a functioning supply chain. Manufacturers are missing parts and raw materials, retailers are missing inventory and farmers are seeing the fruit of their labor literally rot before it can be shipped to customers overseas. All of this means our economy is losing steam and losing customers — an untenable situation.
If the West Coast's 29 ports are not returned to full operation soon, it will create a shock wave that reverberates across the economy, derailing a promising economic recovery that is creating jobs and restoring a sense of economic security for the nation.
Such a crisis is preventable. Both management and labor must be willing to compromise, yet a federal mediator has been unable to resolve the remaining contract issues. President Obama has directed Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to engage in the dispute to revive negotiations, which is a welcome sign. He is scheduled to meet Tuesday with the employer group, the Pacific Maritime Assn., and with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. But the president must be prepared to use his bully pulpit — and all other means at his disposal — to ensure that our nation remains open for business.
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