Feds slowly intervene on West Coast port strife

Local, state and national leaders are calling for an end to the labor breakdown.

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All three West Coast governors have called on President Barack Obama to end the costly labor strife at the ports.

Obama has already sent U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, but that has not deterred the governors from calling for the president to enact the Taft-Hartley Act, which allows him to use executive powers to ensure a resolution.

The Portland Tribune reported on new Gov. Kate Brown’s statement during her first day in office.

“Our local farmers, small businesses and communities in Oregon are in limbo because of the uncertainty surrounding the West Coast and Oregon ports. We urge all parties to rise above their differences and find a common solution to avoid the disruptions that are beginning to suppress our efforts to ensure a strong, growing economy across the state,” said Brown, whose participation in the statement was one of her first official actions since being sworn in to replace former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber Wednesday morning.

Brown, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and California Gov. Jerry Brown join U.S. representatives from the West Coast who have already urged Obama to act.

“It is time for the Pacific Maritime Association and the ILWU to recognize that the consequences of their actions reverberate far beyond their own personal concerns,” said Oregon U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, who is part of the coalition. “They need to immediately conclude their negotiations before they do any further harm to the economy.”

The Portland Business Journal quoted California’s Brown, who took a more colloquial tone:

“This impasse is disrupting international trade and jeopardizing thousands of jobs. After nine months of bargaining, to be hung up on what appears to be arcane process issues is unacceptable. Get it done, guys.”

The governors join several groups that have called for the strife to end, including Oregon agriculture companies.

For all the context necessary to understand the events that got us to this point, read OregonLive.com’s links story that explains the strife for those who have kept up with the story and for the others who have no idea what this is all about.


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