The National Chicken Council, along with 103 other organizations representing a broad coalition of agribusinesses; retailers; wholesalers; importers; exporters; and transportation and logistics providers sent a letter this week to Robert McEllrath, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), and James McKenna, chairman and CEO of Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), urging the two organizations to complete contract negotiations that would resolve current congestion issues of the West Coast ports.

“We fully respect the collective bargaining process and understand the importance of the remaining issues for both management and labor.  However, our members are concerned that there has been no visible progress in the negotiations since August, when the ILWU and PMA announced a tentative deal on health benefits,” the letter said.

The letter pointed out that “we are now at a point where a new contract must be finalized soon in order to allay growing concerns of thousands  of businesses who rely on West Coast ports for orderly and timely supply chain operations.  The congestion problems at key West Coast ports in both the United States and Canada are getting worse each day, and the absence of a new signed contract between the ILWU and PMA is a significant contributing factor.”  Stakeholders are already experiencing significant adverse affects of delays in moving card, and this will soon start to have a negative impact on the overall economy, the letter said.

The letter concluded by encouraging the two parties to “stay the course, complete the contract negotiations as soon as possible, and work to resolve the current congestion issues without further interrupting the flow of commerce.”

The letter was also sent to the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti; the Mayor of Long Beach Robert Garcia; Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles Gene Seroka; and Chief Executive of the Port of Long Beach Jon Slangerup.

The letter is available here.