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U.S. v. PACIFIC MARITIME ASSOCIATION

October 16, 2002

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
V.
PACIFIC MARITIME ASSOCIATION, 550 CALIFORNIA STREET, SACRAMENTO STREET TOWER, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, 94104, AND INTERNATIONAL LONGSHORE AND WAREHOUSE UNION, 1188 FRANKLIN STREET, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, 94109, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William Alsup, District Judge

ORDER APPROVING STIPULATED PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

INTRODUCTION

In this action for injunctive relief under the emergency provisions of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, commonly known as the Taft-Hartley Act, this order APPROVES the stipulation of the parties imposing injunctive relief.

STATEMENT

At the direction of President George W. Bush, the United States commenced this action for injunctive relief on October 8, 2002, under the emergency provisions of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. § 176-180. The President invoked the Act to interrupt a lockout by the Pacific Maritime Association and its members affecting 29 ports on the West Coast and 10,500 longshore workers represented by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The lockout began on September 27, following a breakdown in negotiations over a new collective-bargaining agreement, the old one having expired over the summer.

A few hours after commencement of this action on October 8, a hearing was conducted on the government's motion for a temporary restraining order. All parties were present and represented by counsel. After all parties were heard, the Court found that the statutory preconditions for injunctive relief were satisfied and granted the temporary restraining order requested by the United States. A further hearing was set to determine whether to convert the restraining order into a preliminary injunction. Rather than file any opposition to the preliminary-injunction request, however, defendants soon entered into a stipulation with the United States. Specifically, the parties requested that the temporary restraining order be converted to a preliminary injunction to remain effective until dissolved pursuant to Sections 209-210, reserving appeal rights. This order APPROVES the stipulation for the reasons set forth below.

ANALYSIS

Section 208 of the Taft-Hartley Act provides:

Upon receiving a report from a board of inquiry the President may direct the Attorney General to petition any district court of the United States having jurisdiction of the parties to enjoin such strike or lockout or the continuing thereof, and if the court finds that such threatened or actual strike or lockout —
(i) affects an entire industry or a substantial part thereof engaged in trade, commerce, transportation, transmission, or communication among the several States or with foreign nations, or engaged in the production of goods for commerce; and
(ii) if permitted to occur or to continue, will imperil the national health or safety, it shall have jurisdiction to enjoin any such strike or lockout, or the continuing thereof, and to make such other orders as may be appropriate.

29 U.S.C. § 178(a). For the reasons stated at the hearing on October 8 and elaborated herein, this order finds that both statutory factors have been met.

With respect to the first statutory factor, the lockout at 29 ports along the West Coast and resultant work stoppage have affected a substantial part of the nation's maritime industry, an industry intimately engaged in "trade, commerce, transportation, transmission, or communication among the several States or with foreign nations." 29 U.S.C. § 178(a)(i). Specifically, the 29 affected West Coast ports are crucial gateways to America's trade routes to Asia and the Pacific (Mineta Decl. ¶ 9).*fn1 Indeed, the affected ports annually handle over 50 percent of the nation's containerized imports and exports, with a total annual value of bulk cargo at $300 billion (id. at ¶¶ 9, 11). Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta explains in his declaration (id. at ¶¶ 11, 16, 22):

West Coast ports handle more than half of the Nation's containerized imports and exports. During 2001, West Coast ports handled around 9.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs — a standardized industry measurement) of containerized cargo, or over half of the TEUs handled by all U.S. ports. The daily average volume of these West Coast ports was over 25,000 TEUs.
With the passage of each week of the Port Shutdown, over 1.5 million metric tons of exports, nearly 2 million tons of imports, and more than 600 thousand tons of domestic trade that supply the lifeblood of the U.S. economy are left waiting at dockside and idle aboard ships. In the U.S. foreign trade alone, the value of trade halted each week totals around $6 billion.
West Coast ports serve as major gateways for domestic, export, and import shipments. Incoming cargo handled at West Coast ports is generally distributed on a nationwide basis, and an interruption in the handling of that cargo would clearly have impacts far beyond the ports and port areas. More than 50 percent of all goods shipped to ...

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