The following is a statement of UAW President Ron Gettelfinger
on the West Coast ports
"There is no need for a presidential board of inquiry or a court injunction to end the lockout of more than 10,000 dockworkers at West Coast ports
. Members of the ILWU have offered to return to work as soon as their employers take the locks off the docks. If port owners -- represented by the Pacific Maritime Association
(PMA) -- will simply accept the union's offer, then ILWU members
can return to work while both sides continue working toward a settlement.
"Federal intervention in labor disputes is a bad idea. It's an especially bad idea when carried out by a president who has tried repeatedly to limit -- and even eliminate -- the right of workers to join unions and bargain collectively. The fact that a presidential board of inquiry was appointed Monday to investigate a complex labor dispute and is expected to release its findings today does nothing to enhance the Bush administration
's credibility as a truly neutral arbiter in this matter. Dockworkers are legitimately concerned that the White House
is preparing to team up with the PMA to impose a settlement on the employers' terms. The federal government should
not get into the business of writing contracts between labor and management.
"The best way to get our nation's freight moving again is for the PMA to accept the union's offer: Take the locks off the docks and return to the bargaining table."