Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) joined fellow Republican lawmakers, farmers and local businesses at the State Capitol Friday to call upon President Obama to intervene to end the labor dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association. The nine-month disagreement has resulted in billions of dollars lost by small businesses.
“Having stacks and stacks of cargo sit idle at the ports will have long-term economic impacts on our households and the economy as a whole,” said Senator Nielsen. “The perishable food that is not being shipped will rot; the spare parts that are sitting in the cargo containers will bring a small manufacturer’s operation to a halt.”
Senator Nielsen added, “This dispute is similar to what happened in 2002 when President Bush successfully invoked the Taft-Hartley Act emergency provisions to stop the 11-day dispute and re-opened the ports.”
Recycling Industries, a family owned recycler with plants in Sacramento and Yuba City is already suffering from this dispute.
Owner David Kuhnen said, “Our small business cannot transport out the materials that we are required to process. We have depleted our reserves to pay for storage and operational costs. We are doing everything we can to keep our 100 hardworking employees. Unfortunately, if this impasse does not end soon, we will have to look at reducing our workforce.”
California’s $45 billion agricultural industry is also heavily impacted by the stalemate.
President of the Farm Bureau Federation Paul Wenger said, “The Chinese New Year is next Thursday. Because of this dispute, California’s farmers could not ship their products to an eager market in Asia where fruits are highly sought-after during the holiday season. Farmers have lost an entire year’s production and work because of this dispute.”
In January, Senator Nielsen led the effort to rally a bipartisan group of 39 lawmakers by sending a letter to both the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association urging them to come together and end the standoff.
“Retailers, truckers and nearly every Californian are being impacted by this ongoing dispute that has brought our ports to a virtual standstill,” said Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Nicholaus). “I call upon both sides to come together to resolve this dispute without delay. President Obama and the federal government must also use every power at their discretion to bring the parties together to reach a settlement.”