The National Chicken Council, along with other groups representing U.S. manufacturers, farmers, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, and transportation and logistics providers sent a letter this week to Robert McEllrath, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and James McKenna, chairman and CEO of the Pacific Maritime association, urging them to make every attempt possible to conclude a West Coast port agreement on a new contract before the  current contract expires on June 30.

“It is critical that a new agreement be reached without disruptions to the movement of freight,” the letter said.  The letter urged the parties to stay at the negotiating table until a deal is reached even if negotiations extend beyond the current contract expiration.  “Failure to reach an agreement will have serious economic- wide impacts.  “The potential for disruptions in the flow of commerce at West Coast ports is creating uncertainly in a fragile economic climate and forcing many businesses to develop contingency plans that come at a signficant cost to jobs and our economic competitiveness,” the letter stated, and “we urge both parties to begin negotiations with the goal of finalizing a long term labor agreement without any disruptions to the supply chain.