Gallagher and Nielsen Lead Effort to Resolve Gridlock at West Coast Ports

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Nicolaus) and Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) today sent a joint letter to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), urging both parties to quickly resolve the contract dispute that is disrupting port operations and negatively impacting California’s economy.

“Today, we sent a bi-partisan message from the Legislature that the slowdown at the ports needs to end, and that the parties need to come together to resolve contract negotiations in a timely manner for the good of our economy,” stated Assemblyman Gallagher.

The bi-partisan letter, signed by 39 members of the Legislature, highlights the substantial impacts this impasse has had on various industries.  West Coast ports handle about $1 trillion worth of cargo each year.  The seven-month long contract dispute has resulted in shipping delays that impact California’s manufacturing, agriculture, retail, recycling, and transportation industries.

Agriculture and recycling industries have been especially hard hit by this impasse. Gridlock and unreliable service at the ports have resulted in delayed shipments, cargo backups, lost sales and increased costs for consumers and small businesses. Some North State exporters are now spending tens of thousands of dollars to divert their cargo via rail to East Coast ports in order to ensure the timely export of goods. 

Senator Nielsen said, “For the sake of our farmers and all those whose jobs depend on the success of these negotiations, the two parties must come to an agreement. This also significantly affects our relationships with our trading partners in the Pacific Rim.”