(October 7, 2002) -- President Bush has taken the first step toward halting a labor dispute between port workers and shipping lines by ordering a fast track Board of Inquiry to assess -- by tomorrow -- the economic damage and determine whether the two sides are negotiating in good faith.
We post the verbatim text of the President's executive order creating the Board of Inquiry, below.
The board's determination could pave the way for ordering workers back onto the job under 1947 Taft-Hartley Act. The law lets the administration go to federal court and seek an order halting the lockout for an 80-day "cooling off" period on grounds the dispute is "imperiling the national health or safety."
Talks between union and management reps broke down last night and by one estimate, the lockout is costing the U.S. economy $2 billion a day.
The White House has previously offered mediation which both sides accepted last week. The dispute has now entered its second week.
Executive Order: Creating a Board of Inquiry to Report on Certain Labor Disputes Affecting the Maritime Industry of the United States
WHEREAS, there exists a labor dispute between, on the one hand, employees represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and, on the other hand, employers and the bargaining association of employers who are (1) U.S. and foreign steamship companies operating ships or employed as agents for ships engaged in service to or from the Pacific Coast ports in California, Oregon, and Washington, and (2) stevedore and terminal companies operating at ports in California, Oregon, and Washington; and
WHEREAS, such dispute has resulted in a lock-out that affects a substantial part of the maritime industry, an industry engaged in trade, commerce, transportation (including the transportation of military supplies), transmission, and communication among the several States and with foreign nations; and
WHEREAS, a continuation of this lock-out, if permitted to continue, will imperil the national health and safety;
NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me by section 206 of the Labor Management Relations Act, 1947 (61 Stat. 155; 29 U.S.C. 176) (the "Act"), I hereby create a Board of Inquiry consisting of such members as I shall appoint to inquire into the issues involved in such dispute.
The Board shall have powers and duties as set forth in title II of the Act. The Board shall report to me in accordance with the provisions of section 206 of the Act no later than October 8, 2002.
Upon the submission of its report, the Board shall continue in existence in order to perform any additional functions under the Act, including those functions set forth in section 209(b), but shall terminate no later than upon completion of such functions.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 7, 2002.