ASA ratchets up pressure on unions, ports to resolve west coast slowdown
ST. LOUIS – The American Soybean Association (ASA), along with more than 90 fellow farm and food organizations, called on representatives on both sides of the labor dispute impacting operations at five west coast ports to come to the bargaining table and resolve the issue that threatens the supply chain continuity for countless U.S. agricultural commodities. Not only is this dispute causing extreme congestion, delays, and uncertainty, it is costing the agriculture industry millions of dollars for every week that the negotiations and slowdowns drag on.
In an open letter, ASA and its fellow organizations urged both the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) to take into account the impact the dispute is having on consumers and to resolve their differences as quickly as possible. The groups also urged the federal government to consider all available remedies to bring the dispute to a rapid end, noting the potentially dire consequences of not reaching an agreement that gets each port back up and running quickly.
“This regrettable situation is having a severe impact on our ability to export agricultural and food products to many of our main export markets,” wrote the groups in the letter. “Inevitably, these overseas customers will look to other sources for their supply of these goods. Similar to what we encountered after ill-advised export embargoes in the past, once lost, a foreign customer can be difficult to recapture.”