- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A Washington state senator says he will look into the apparent slowdown of cargo moving through West Coast ports.

Spokane Republican Michael Baumgartner says Northwest growers of Christmas trees have been particularly hurt as goods have sat on docks in recent weeks.

He plans a fact-finding hearing next year to understand its causes and find remedies. Baumgartner will lead the Commerce and Labor Committee.

Longshoremen have continued to work without a contract at ports from San Diego to Seattle that are a vital trade link with Asia, though their employers say workers have deliberately slowed their pace over the past few months.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s Craig Merrilees says such viewpoints are counterproductive in a situation that requires cool heads and a commitment to compromise.

The union has also said its members have been working safely.

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