Eyeing the East Coast ports

UPDATE 1:05 p.m.: The parties have struck a tentative deal settling part of their dispute and have until Jan. 28 to deal with other matters.

Retailers of all stripes could soon face some serious logistical headaches courtesy of a looming strike by 15,000 workers at East Coast ports. The International Longshoremen's Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance haven't been able to hammer out a new contract after months of talks. The potential impact of their impasse has some people calling for presidential intervention.

President George W. Bush was the last president to invoke the act. In 2002, he ended a lockout that closed West Coast ports for 10 days. That shutdown cost the U.S. economy $1 billion a day and resulted in supply-chain disruptions that lingered for more than six months, according to the NRF.