(Oct. 8) WASHINGTON, D.C. —Just hours after receiving a report from the appointed board of inquiry, President Bush ordered federal attorneys to seek a court injunction that, if approved, could reopen West Coast ports as soon as Oct. 9. The board found that neither side was negotiating in good faith and that further action had to be taken.

In ordering the injunction, the president invoked the Taft-Hartley Act, last used by Jimmy Carter in an unsuccessful attempt to end a coal miner’s strike in 1978.

“This dispute between management and labor cannot be allowed to further harm the economy and force thousands of working Americans from their jobs,” Bush said in a speech Oct. 8.

The dockworkers, meanwhile, agreed to a 30-day contract extension just moments before Bush made his remarks. The Pacific Maritime Association had not responded to that offer as of this writing.

But even if the ports reopen, that doesn’t mean traffic will resume its normal flow. Pacific Maritime Association chief executive officer Joseph Miniace estimated that it could take as much as six weeks to return traffic to normal at the ports. An estimated 200 ships are currently immobile at the 29 ports affected by the lockout.

What’s more, the association has accused the union of staging work slowdowns, which were the reason for the lockout in the first place.

While denying a slowdown, the union has said that upon returning to the ports, it will not allow its members to be forced into an increased work pace to make up for the backlog.

An injunction would enact an 80-day cooling off period that would get produce shippers through the critical fall season. It would not, however, provide any resolution to the contract dispute. Further negotiations will still be necessary.