Ag groups urge White House to avoid port disruptions

Legislative Watch: New labor agreement needed; West Coast contract; ​​​​​​​National Hot Dog Month.

P. Scott Shearer, Vice President

July 8, 2022

3 Min Read
GettyImages-Logjam of containers California port.jpeg
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Over 150 agricultural associations wrote President Joe Biden urging the administration to continue to work with the International Longshore Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association to reach a new labor agreement and avoid port disruptions on the west coast. 

The associations asked the administration to:

  1. Extend the current contract until a final contract is reached.

  2. Commit to remain at the negotiating table and negotiate in good faith.

  3. Agree to not engage in any kind of activity that leads to further disruption at the ports.

The letter said, "As we enter the all-important peak shipping season, we continue to expect cargo flows to remain at all-time highs, putting further stress on the supply chain and increasing inflation. Many expect these challenges to continue through the rest of the year. Even with the recent joint statement, supply chain stakeholders remain concerned about the potential for disruption, especially without a contract or an extension in place. Unfortunately, this concern stems from a long history of disruptions during previous negotiations.

"The only way the parties can reach an agreement that will ensure the continued competitiveness of the ports and those who rely upon them is to remain at the table until a new agreement is finalized."

Those signing the letter were the Agricultural Retailers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Seed Trade Association, Beer Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Pork Producers Association, North American Meat Institute and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

West Coast labor contract negotiations
The contract between the ILWU and the PMA covering the West Coast ports expired on July 1. There are growing concerns within the agriculture and business communities about what this means as we enter the peak shipping season. Many businesses are concerned because of the upcoming December holiday season, as the West Coast ports handle nearly 40% of all U.S. imports. 

The ILWU and PMA issued a joint statement last Friday to address concerns regarding the expired contract. They said, "While there will be no contract extension, cargo will keep moving, and normal operations will continue at the ports until an agreement can be reached between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. Both sides understand the strategic importance of the ports to the local, regional and U.S. economies, and are mindful of the need to finalize a new coastwide contract as soon as possible to ensure continuing confidence in the West Coast."

Negotiations on a new contract between the ILWU and PMA began on May 1. 

National Hot Dog Month
July is National Hot Dog Month with July 4 being the single largest hot dog consumption day of the year with Americans eating an estimated 150 million hot dogs. It is estimated that Americans spent $7.5 billion in 2021 on hot dogs and sausages in supermarkets.

According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans consume 7 billion hot dogs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The top hot dog consuming cities are Los Angeles, New York City, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, Atlanta, Washington, DC and Phoenix.

Source: P. Scott Shearer, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. The opinions of this writer are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.

About the Author(s)

P. Scott Shearer

Vice President, Bockorny Group, Inc.

Scott Shearer is vice president of the Bockorny Group Inc., a leading bipartisan government affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years experience in government and corporate relations in state and national arenas, he is recognized as a leader in agricultural trade issues, having served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority. Scott was instrumental in the passage of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and TPA. He is past chairman of the USDA-USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products and was a member of the USAID Food Security Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Bockorny Group, Scott served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries Inc., as well as USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (1993-96), serving as liaison for the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA to Congress.

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