PORTS Bill is an Overreach, Would Undermine Collective Bargaining Rights

June 5, 2015
CONTACT: Jonna Huseman

Washington, DC—Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), issues this statement on the introduction of the Protecting Orderly and Responsible Transit of Shipments (PORTS) Act:

“Senator Cory Gardner’s PORTS bill is a blatant overreach by corporate interests whose sole objective is to eviscerate the collective bargaining rights of port employees. The Gardner bill would also have a severe chilling effect on labor-management relations in our nation’s ports by tilting the playing field in management’s favor.

“The PORTS bill usurps the power of the President of the United States. With the expert assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services (FMCS), the President is in the best position to evaluate and understand complex, multi-state bargaining, and to provide leadership in helping both parties reach agreements consensually.

“During the recent port bargaining dispute on the West Coast, the President dispatched his Secretary of Labor who revived talks and helped the parties reach a new agreement. This is the way the bargaining process should work.

“By vesting governors with unique powers previously reserved for the President, Senator Gardner’s proposal would pervert the collective bargaining process by subjecting it to potentially sinister political motives that have no place in labor-management negotiations. Also, the bill’s language is so broad and € that it could easily allow corporate interests to use the pretense of port disputes as an excuse to exact political retribution on opponents.

“We stand committed to defeating this irresponsible assault on port workers’ bargaining rights.”


The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, represents 32 member unions in the aviation, rail, transit, motor carrier, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. For more information, visit us at www.ttd.org or on Facebook and Twitter.