Senators Mike Braun, Richard Burr, James Risch, Mike Crapo, Roger Wicker, John Boozman, John Thune, Steve Daines, Cynthia Lummis, Todd Young, Marsha Blackburn, John Hoeven, Kevin Cramer, Jerry Moran, Roger Marshall, and Mitt Romney, sent a follow-up letter to the President of the United States calling on President Biden to engage with stakeholders and Congress on the ongoing contract negotiations at America’s West Coast ports. While negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) started on May 10, 2022, it has been reported that contract talks have already been suspended once. Representative Gregory Murphy led 10 other members of the House of Representatives on this letter, demanding action from the Executive Branch.
 
In March, Senator Braun and 18 other Senators originally wrote that they feared that delayed contract negotiating will result in additional supply chain disruptions, exacerbated freight congestion, and further harm manufacturing in the United States. To date this letter has not received a response.
 
The latest letter, addressed to the President Biden, highlights how the U.S. Congressional Representatives are urging the President to work with both the ILWU and PMA, to guarantee contract negotiations are successfully completed before the contract expiration date on July 1, 2022.
 
The Members of Congress write:
We are concerned by the lack of response to the previous letter that your Administration does not share the same urgency raised by stakeholders and Congress. If the negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) are not completed before the contract expires on July 1, experience shows that there are likely to be additional disruptions to our nation’s supply chain, which would exacerbate freight congestion and harm manufacturing and agriculture in our states. We strongly urge you to work with both the ILWU and PMA, and engage with stakeholders and Congress, on this critical issue.

The letter continues to explain how failed contract negotiations between ILWU and PMA have contributed to supply chain gridlock in the past, urging the White House to focus more closely to address this potential crisis.
 
Representative Greg Murphy, the leading Member in House of Representatives on the letter, concludes:

The West Coast Ports account for over 44 percent of our nation’s port traffic. North Carolina families and businesses in my district rely on these supply chains for goods each and every day. As our nation confronts record inflation and heightened economic challenges from the Biden Administration, it is absolutely vital that these ports continue to operate without interruption. I’m proud to join Senator Braun in this bicameral effort to ensure that labor contract negotiations do not result in costly delays that further impede our supply chain production.” – Representative Murphy

Read the follow-up letter here

BACKGROUND:

  • If the negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) are not completed before the contract expires on July 1, experience shows that there are likely to be additional disruptions to our nation’s supply chain, which would exacerbate freight congestion and harm manufacturing and agriculture in our states.
  • Historically, negotiations between the ILWU and PMA have created gridlock, even during times of economic prosperity.
  • These negotiations encompass 22,400 dockworkers, 70 employers, and 29 ports.
  • In 2002, there was a breakdown in negotiations that resulted in a lockout of 11 days and an estimated cost of $1 billion a day.
  • In 2014, negotiations lasted 10 months leading to billions in increased costs for American businesses.

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