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West Coast Dock Workers' Lock-Out Should End, Says Bush - 2002-10-01

President Bush says it is important for America's economy to end a lock-out of West Coast dock workers. Mr. Bush says the labor stoppage has come at a "bad time" for the U.S. economy.

The dispute over a new contract between the longshoreman's union and port operators has blocked cargo up and down America's Pacific coast.

The 29 ports affected handle about $300 billion worth of cargo a year. President Bush says he is worried about the lock-out and says it is important for the economy to get that cargo moving again. "No work is a tough situation that comes at a bad time," he said. "And so we are watching it very closely. There is a federal mediator on the ground and I urge both parties to utilize the mediator."

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer Tuesday said the president would not use his authority to force the ports to re-open. He said