Business Groups Ask Obama to Intervene in Ports Labor Dispute
President Obama should intervene to end a labor dispute involving two of the nation's busiest ports, a group of 98 business and retail advocacy groups said in a letter today.
A seven-day strike at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., which account for 40 percent of commerce coming into the United States, has the potential to send shockwaves through the economy, the groups say.
"It's the impact on the economy as a whole, it's the potential for merchandise to not be on the shelf at the end of the holdiay season, its the impact on the agricultural community. The impact on this is pretty far and wide," said the National Retail Federation's Jonathan Gold.
With the fiscal cliff absorbing much of Washington, the groups believe they can exert some leverage on lawmakers and the president if they stay persistent.
"We hope they realize the importance of this. … you're seeing the visuals of [cargo boxes] lining up and people are not getting a paycheck right now. This is having an immediate impact," Gold said, adding that the groups will also be petitioning members of Congress.
Today's letter is the groups' latest attempt to influence the president and lawmakers and goes as far as calling on the president to invoke Taft-Hartley to end the strike. NRF urged the president to intervene last week, and again this week.
Read the text of the letter below: