Feature

Idle ports

The week's news at a glance.

San Francisco

Talks between shipping companies and dockworkers broke down this week, prompting President Bush to wade into a labor dispute that shut down every major port on the West Coast. Bush asked a court to force both sides back to work so the standoff would not disrupt the economy during the crucial holiday season. On Sept. 27, the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents shipping companies, locked out 10,500 longshoremen it accused of slowing down cargo loading and unloading in an attempt to win contract concessions. The shutdown choked trade between the U.S. and Asia, and cost the nation billions in lost business—prompting fears it might tip the economy into a recession. “The country has been patient,” said Labor Secretary Elaine Chao. “But now ordinary Americans are being seriously harmed by this dispute.”

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