Judge approves Bush's request to reopen West Coast ports

Wednesday, October 9, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal judge approved President Bush's request Tuesday to reopen West Coast ports, ending a 10-day labor lockout that has cost the fragile U.S. economy $1 billion to $2 billion a day.

Three hours after Justice Department officials filed the request in federal court, Judge William Alsup ruled the government had proven use of the Taft-Hartley Act was necessary to stop the lockout's impact on the economy.

The judge issued a temporary restraining order that expires Oct. 16, when both sides will return to court to discuss if Alsup should impose an 80-day cooling-off period as mandated by Taft-Hartley.

The association said it will order workers to report to shifts that start at 6 p.m. Wednesday in most ports. Given the backup, the number of available jobs will be substantial, association spokesman Steve Sugerman said.

Union spokesman Steve Stallone said the association will try to use the decision to harass the union by saying workers aren't meeting previous productivity levels while they try to clear docks.

Bush wants the court to require work at the ports to "resume at a normal pace."

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