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Monday, June 8, 2015

PORTS Act for Apparel Industry

Legislation that would amend the federal Taft-Hartley Act to allow governors to intervene in port labor disputes rather than being required to ask the White House to do so was introduced on June 5, 2015.

Hopefully this will help the next time the port shuts down in Los Angeles due to worker strikes.  As we all know long port delays creates havoc for the apparel industry.  Clothing exporters, importers, and clothing stores all hate product delays.

The Protecting Orderly and Responsible Transit of Shipments or PORTS Act, was introduced by Senator Cory Gardner, R-Colo., a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.  The bill would grant states new powers under Taft-Hartley so governors could examine the economic harm of port disruptions and petition federal courts to intervene. Under current law, that request could only come from the president.

The introduction of the PORTS Act is a welcome sign that Congress is serious about reforming the process and dedicated to the future viability of U.S. ports.

The Act, which is cosponsored by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), would discourage disruptions at US seaports and incentivize speedy resolution of disputes by strengthening and expanding the well-known Taft Hartley process, which is already applicable to ports and includes 70 years of case law.

It would do this by granting state governors Taft Hartley powers currently reserved for the president, including the ability to convene a board of inquiry and start the Taft Hartley process whenever a port labor dispute is causing economic harm. Once that board reports, governors could petition federal courts to enjoin slowdowns, strikes, or lockouts at ports in their states. The PORTS Act would explicitly include slowdowns as a trigger for Taft Hartley powers.

The bill has the support of over 100 business and trade associations including the Agricultural Transportation Coalition, Consumer Electronics Association, National Association of Manufacturers and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  These organizations representing farmers, retailers, transportation providers, wholesalers and other supply chain stakeholders signed a coalition letter organized by NRF.

You can read our recent article about how the LA port closures effected the fashion industry on the fashion blog.

Note: this bill has not yet passed.  It has been introduced for review.


Learn more about Ports in the USA and around the globe in the freight and transportation section here on Apparel Search.

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