Gardner Demands Action on Ports Stalemate

Washington, D.C. – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) sent a letter today urging the Obama Administration to find a resolution to the economic crises created by union slowdowns at West Coast ports. The labor dispute, affecting operations in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and elsewhere, has caused vital economic hubs to grind to a standstill while ships full of cargo are anchored just off the coast and American-made exports pile up in port warehouses.  This slowdown is causing grave economic harm to businesses in Colorado and around the country.

Gardner’s letter, addressed to the Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Labor, reads, in part:

The economic consequences of this labor dispute are not confined to the local economies surrounding the ports.  This logistical nightmare will create delays, higher costs, and lost business for industries throughout the country.  Recently announced weekend shutdowns could cost us $1 billion per day or more in lost economic activity nationally, according to multiple media sources, and businesses fear this could affect long-term demand for American exports. 


The adverse effects on Colorado manufacturers and industry began in October and are especially pronounced.  For example, my state supplies Asia with over $500 million in beef products through West Coast ports, which account for 23% of Colorado’s total exports and 57% of its international exports.  But our Colorado exports are being turned away at the ports’ gates.  Grain, machine parts, coal, fishing supplies, furniture, fresh produce and pliable metals are all products of Colorado – and all are being damaged by this labor dispute.  Our exporters’ relationships with Asian customers are disintegrating as their products are caught in the bottleneck.  Storefronts here in the U.S. are losing customers because products ordered are taking months to reach show floors.  Segments of our manufacturers are experiencing production line delays or shutdowns because they can’t get the raw materials they need to produce American goods. Our retailers are even resorting to financially unsustainable air freight just to keep products on the shelves and customers happy.

A single union should not be able to hold the American economy hostage just to gain leverage during contract negotiations.  Given these national disruptions to the U.S. economy and industry, the federal government has a duty to act.  Please bring your agencies’ authority and resources to bear on this pressing national crisis before it spirals further out of control.

            The full letter can be read here.