One of the biggest pieces of supply chain news this year was the delays at the West Coast ports. For more than nine months, the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union could not come to an agreement over their labor contract. This caused organized strike days and all sorts of delays at the ports. An agreement was finally reached in May and the ports are starting to return to normal. However, the government is working on a bill that would authorize the governor to intervene in future port strikes.
The new being proposed is an adaptation of the Taft-Hartley Act. It would give governors the right to get involved in the labor contract negotiations. Essentially, the government is trying to come up with a way to prevent port strikes in the future. The government has a vested interest in the West Coast ports because they directly affect the U.S. economy. The new bill will be called the Protecting Orderly and Responsible Transit of Shipments (PORTS) Act.
Senator Cory Gardner said, “This year’s slowdown at West Coast ports demonstrated the disastrous consequences that labor disputes at our ports can have on businesses, consumers, and the entire economy… A labor dispute at one of our ports can cause significant damage.”
The West Coast port strikes in 2015 were a major issue for the U.S. economy. Manufactures around the U.S. had a difficult time getting the materials they needed to complete their goods, especially in the car industry. Many companies had to resort to expensive air cargo to get the parts and materials they needed to continue production. Additionally, agricultural imports spoiled and cost the U.S. millions of dollars. That’s why the government is paving the way to prevent long-term West Coast ports delays in the future with this new bill.