Bush steps in to resolve dockers dispute

Easy now George...
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

Easy now George...

By Dawn Kawamoto and Will Sturgeon US President George Bush has been praised for stepping in to try to resolve a US shipping dispute which is threatening the already precariously positioned technology sector. For more than a week now, 29 West Coast ports have been closed by strike action, meaning a number of large technology firms have lost a crucial link in their supply chains. President Bush has formed a panel to determine whether the longshoremen's union and the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents the shipping companies and port operators, are bargaining in good faith. If the panel determines the parties have not been negotiating in good faith during their contract dispute, Bush can then seek a court injunction to have the ports reopened and the longshoremen back at work for an 80-day cooling-off period. Gary Shapiro, chief executive of the Consumer Electronics Association, said: "We warmly welcome President Bush's intervention in the ongoing West Coast port closure dispute. As we have said, the port lockouts are having an adverse impact on the technology industry at a time when the industry - and the national economy - can least afford such disruptions." The association also offered its encouragement for Bush to "use all authority available to him to bring this dispute to a close as quickly as possible." Hewlett-Packard and Gateway, along with a host of other technology companies, say they rely on the Port of Long Beach to bring in goods such as monitors and desktops PCs from Asia. That port is one of 29 that have been closed for more than a week from Washington state to Southern California. Meanwhile e-tail giant Amazon has assured customers that its service will be unaffected by the dispute. According to Jeff Bezos, speaking in London yesterday, shipments of Amazon good will continue as usual as the majority of goods on sale are produced domestically within the US. Bezos said: "I am not concerned. Our reliance on bulk shipments is much lower than for other companies in the industry." Dawn Kawamoto writes for News.com
Editorial standards