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North American Meat Institute Applauds Agreement in Nine Month West Coast Port Labor Dispute

Monday, February 23, 2015

Recovery from Backups Could Still Take Months

Washington, D.C.—The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA) are gratified to hear the news that negotiations have finally concluded after nine months in the labor dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).

The dispute and resulting slowdowns have cost the meat, poultry, hide, skin and leather industries an estimated $85 million a week. While the deal between the two sides is a crucial step to ending this slowdown, the impact will continue to be felt as it will take an estimated 30-45 days to clear the backlog of containers that has built up at ports along the west coast.

NAMI and USHSLA urge ILWU membership to quickly ratify the deal and both parties to pledge to return to regular working conditions immediately during the ratification period.

“The meat and poultry, hide, skin and leather industries have been feeling the pain of this dispute for far too long,” said NAMI President and CEO Barry Carpenter. “It is time to put this crisis behind us and reopen the lines of trade with our partners around the world.”

It is also time that Congress and the White House look for ways to avoid this situation in the future, otherwise the situation will be repeated in both 2017 and 2019 when both coasts’ labor contracts expire once again.

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