Release Date: Nov 18, 2002Contact: 888-249-NEWS
Joins Business Groups Warning of 'Catastrophic Consequences'
U.S. Chamber Urges Negotiated West Coast Port Settlement—Joins Business Groups Warning of 'Catastrophic Consequences'
Washington, D.C. - The United States Chamber of Commerce joined more than 200 other business organizations in urging both sides in the West Coast port conflict to reach a negotiated settlement during the cooling-off period in a November 15 letter to the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).
"We urge both sides to put the concerns of our national health, safety and security first, and work in good faith to move forward and reach a mutually acceptable compromise," according to the letter. "Even though the ports have reopened, it will be up to two months before the backlog has cleared."
The earlier lockout and shutdown of 29 western ports cost the economy billions of dollars and created a backlog that has yet to clear, the Chamber noted. Failure to reach a negotiated settlement would be catastrophic to the struggling economy.
"The number and breadth of industries represented by the groups signing onto this letter demonstrates the deep concern over the lack of a negotiated agreement and the fear that another shutdown could occur when the cooling off period expires," said Bruce Josten, Chamber executive vice president.
As the letter pointed out, "It is no exaggeration to say that the health of the nation's economy - and, with it, the livelihoods of employers and employees - depends on your [reaching agreement]."
The letter, sent this weekend to Pacific Maritime President Joseph Miniace and Longshore Union President James Spinosa, also warned that another shutdown would send "a sharply negative message to our global trading partners about the reliability of shipping into and out of the United States."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.
# # #