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Arkansas Delegation Urges Obama to Prevent Port Shutdowns

February 18, 2015
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) along with Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-01), French Hill (AR-02), Steve Womack (AR-03) and Bruce Westerman (AR-04) sent a letter to President Obama last week urging him to resolve contract negotiations between the dock workers union and shipowners at West Coast ports because of the negative economic consequences it’s having on Arkansas businesses. Over the weekend, the President sent Labor Secretary Tom Perez to help the sides reach an agreement.

“We are hearing from many small businesses, farmers, livestock and poultry producers, store owners, factories, and workers who are impacted by this situation. Vessels continue to be anchored at bay, unable to load and unload cargo at docks which are effectively at maximum utilization capacity,” members wrote. “In our home state of Arkansas, the economic impacts of these slowdowns have been felt for months, but the situation is becoming much more severe. These delays must come to an end.”

Click here to read the letter in its entirety.

Contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), the union that represents the dockworkers and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) have been ongoing since spring of 2014, causing disruptions in service. If an agreement is not reached between the two parties, West Coast ports would shut down. The National Retail Federation warns that this could cost the U.S. economy approximately $2 billion a day.

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