President Obama has dispatched his labor secretary to engage in talks with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) in order to try to bring an end to the months-long contract dispute between both parties. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez will attempt to intervene and end the dispute which has severely jeopardized the transport and sale of fresh produce to customers overseas, and has placed some growers on the West Coast at a disadvantage with their competitors.
The action comes on the heels of the of requests by agriculture and retail organizations, including Western Growers, that have urged President Obama to use his influence to get both sides to come to terms and end a slowdown that has been estimated to cost importers and exporters billions of dollars per day. Last week, Western Growers President and CEO Tom Nassif issued a press statement calling on the president “to become personally and immediately engaged” in the dispute.
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