A coalition of more than 100 business organizations from across the United States urged President Obama to take "immediate action" to prevent the International Longshoremen’s Association from striking when its contract expires Dec. 29.
The plea to the president came in a letter warning that failure to avert a coastwide strike "will have serious economy-wide impacts."
"We urge you to take immediate action and use all of the options available to you, including the authority under the Taft-Hartley Act, to keep the parties at the negotiating table," the organizations said.
Taft-Hartley empowers the president to seek an injunction for a back-to-work order to halt "a threatened or actual" strike or lockout that affects a substantial part of an industry and "will, if permitted to occur or to continue, imperil the national health or safety."
The letter to Obama was signed by a range of business groups representing manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, transportation and logistics providers and state business associations. Retail organizations had sent a similar letter previously.
The latest letter noted that the Northeast is still recovering from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, and that the threat of a strike has already forced many companies to implement costly contingency plans.
Negotiations between the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance broke down Tuesday after the union and employers failed to agree on a contract extension past Dec. 29.