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Deal Reached in West Coast Ports Labor Dispute

Monday, February 23, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) reached a tentative contract last Friday, concluding the nine month labor dispute that has cost the meat, poultry, hide, skin and leather industries an estimated $85 million per week. The two parties agreed to the five-year deal, which covers more than 20,000 employees at 29 West Coast ports, following a week of talks with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. Additional details about the deal are likely to emerge following a ratification vote by members of both groups. While most ports are now operating normally, it may take approximately 30-45 days or longer to clear the backlog of containers that has built up over the past few months.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement that is good for the workers and for the industry," said PMA President James McKenna and ILWU President Bob McEllrath in a joint statement. "We are also pleased that our ports can now resume full operations."

Meanwhile, NAMI and the U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA) issued a joint statement urging Congress and the White House to examine ways to avoid this situation in the future, given that labor contracts will expire at East and West Coast ports in 2017 and 2019 respectively. In the statement, NAMI and USHSLA also urged ILWU membership to quickly ratify the deal and both parties to immediately return to regular working conditions.

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