Senators Introduce Legislation Protecting U.S. Ports from Slowdowns

Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced the Protecting Orderly and Responsible Transit of Shipments (PORTS) Act in the U.S. Senate on Friday, June 5, 2015. The goal of the legislation is to protect the American economy by extending powers of intervention in labor disputes, which are currently reserved to the President under the Taft-Hartley Labor Act, to state governors.

Under this legislation, state governors would be able to convene boards of inquiry in the event of labor disputes. If the board of inquiry finds that a labor dispute is causing economic harm, state governors would also have the ability to petition federal courts to enjoin slowdowns, strikes, or lockouts at ports in their states.

The PORTS Act follows a cargo backup at U.S. West Coast Ports during months-long labor negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Administration and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which slowed domestic economic growth. This backup placed enormous pressure on shippers, importers, and retailers during the holiday season. This legislation would expand the options available to local and state interests seeking to force quick resolution to disputes.

TIA joined with dozens of organizations, including the National Retail Federation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers in supporting the introduction of this legislation. For more information on this issue and the TIA International Logistics Conference, please contact Will Sehestedt at or 703-299-5713.