Senate Bill Introduced To Prevent West Coast Seaport Disruptions

Date: June 08, 2015 Last Edit: February 05, 2016

PORTS Act Would Grant Governors Additional Powers In Dispute Resolution

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) on Friday announced that he, along with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), introduced the Protecting Orderly and Responsible Transit of Shipments Act in the Senate. The PORTS Act is designed to grant state governors additional powers to “discourage disruptions and incentivize quick resolutions if a dispute does occur,” the Daily Caller reported. Included in these powers would be the authority to “convene a board of inquiry and the ability to petition federal courts to enjoin slowdowns, strikes, or lockouts at ports in their states.” Truckinginfo noted online that the PORTS Act “would expand the powers granted by the Taft-Hartley Act” of 1947 affecting labor disputes at US seaports.

The measure was prompted by disruptions in shipments late last year and early this year. Truckinginfo noted that in a statement Gardner and Alexander said that a number of economists, “including the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, cited the most recent West Coast ports dispute as a primary cause of a 0.7 percent decline in GDP in the first quarter of 2015.” The Daily Caller said that in a statement Gardner explained, “Labor union bosses should not be allowed to hold the economy hostage, nor should they be allowed to use the livelihoods and jobs of millions of Americans as bargaining chips. This Act would empower local leaders, who are most affected by these port disruptions, to apply pressure to their state governments to bring these damaging disputes to an end.” The Caller noted that dozens of trade and business groups swiftly responded by praising the introduction of the measure, including the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

What This Means For Small Businesses

Many small businesses rely on ports to provide efficient, cost-effective shipment of goods to and from foreign markets. The PORTS Act would provide aid in keeping ports like the Port of Los Angeles operating smoothly, and would be a positive step for small businesses along the West Coast and across the US.

Additional Reading

NFIB has previously covered the effects of the labor dispute at West Coast ports.

NFIB sent a letter of support
on S. 1519, the Protecting
Orderly and Responsible Transit of Shipments (PORTS) Act
, which
would safeguard American small businesses from the damaging effects of labor
slowdowns at United States seaports.

NFIB also sent a letter of
support on the House companion bill, 
H.R.
3433, the Protecting Orderly and Responsible Transit of Shipments (PORTS) Act
,
which was introduced by Rep. David Reichert
(WA-08).

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