Amid labor negotiations in September 2002, management at West Coast ports locked out dockworkers, accusing the union of coordinating work slowdowns at several ports.
President Bush, with first lady Laura Bush, steps down from Air Force One in Salt Lake City, Utah, to participate in the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, Friday, Feb. 8, 2002.
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
At the time, a work stoppage had the potential to cost the US about $1 billion per day in lost trade, according to CNN.
The ILWU called the PMA’s claims of a slowdown “false” and said it was a tactic to get the Bush Administration to intervene, CNN reported.
Contract negotiations were at a stalemate as the ILWU refused to allow the PMA to institute new technology that could make clerks irrelevant.
After an 11-day lockout which left ships waiting for days outside of ports, Bush sought a court order to end the lockout that threatened to damage the economy when it was still reeling from 9/11.
“The crisis in our Western ports is hurting the economy,” Bush said at a press event. “It is hurting the security of our country, and the federal government must act. Americans are working hard every day to bring our economy back from
. This nation simply cannot afford to have hundreds of billions of dollars a year in potential manufacturing and agricultural trade sitting idle.”
Under the Tart-Hartley Act, Bush sought an injunction against strikes and lockout that “imperil the national health or safety.” It was the first time the act was successfully used since President Richard Nixon used it against the union in 1971.
The two groups reached an agreement about two months later. ILWU allowed the PMA to institute the new cargo-tracking technology while winning higher pay and pensions, Freight Waves reported.