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Dock Shutdown Prompts White House Warning

The White House is warning both sides in the West Coast dock shutdown that they´re hurting the economy. Spokesman Ari Fleischer says both labor and management are hurting others whose jobs depend on products being shipped. Fleischer says the president´s message is to go back to work and resolve the problems. The shutdown began last Sunday at the nation´s 29 West Coast ports in Washington, Oregon and California. Shippers and terminal operators have locked out more than 10-thousand longshoremen, claiming the dock workers engaged in a slowdown.

Two senior administration officials say Bush is considering appointing a board of inquiry to determine the economic impact of the shutdown. That would be a potential first step toward ordering workers back to their jobs for 80 days under a 1947 law. But the officials say the president hasn´t yet decided whether to intervene. The two sides have been meeting with a federal mediator.