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Meat Institute Staff Discuss Port Labor Dispute With Secretary Perez

Monday, March 16, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

NAMI Senior Vice President of International Affairs Bill Westman and U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA) President Stephen Sothmann met with Secretary of Labor Tom Perez to discuss his involvement in assisting to resolve the seven-month labor dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA). Perez provided an overview of his efforts to successfully broker a deal between the ILWU and PMA, and offered suggestions regarding ways to avoid a similar labor impasse in the future. The final contract has not yet been ratified by either the PMA or ILWU membership. The ILWU will host a caucus meeting at the end of March to review and vote on the contract, after which it will be sent to ILWU rank and file members for a full vote. The contract is expected to receive approval from both the ILWU caucus and the full membership.

The Meat Institute and USHSLA will continue to work with a broader coalition to call for an increased focus on port infrastructure modernization and efficiency improvements, and will seek additional systemic changes to avoid a similar situation in the upcoming East/Gulf Coast ports negotiations between the International Longshoremen's Association and the United States Maritime Alliance. The U.S. Meat Export Federation estimates that it will take approximately 45 days before meat exports to Asia return to normal levels.

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