United Fresh Produce Association applauds legislation introduced to mitigate the serious consequences of situations such as the recent slowdown at ports across the West Coast during protracted labor contract negotiations. United Fresh has worked with a broad coalition of business sectors in support of the PORTS Act introduced by Senator Cory Gardner (CO). Along with over 100 signatories on a letter to Senator Gardner supporting this initiative, United Fresh expressed produce industry support for his proposal to give state governors authorities under the Taft-Hartley Act to intervene in labor disputes at seaports to stop disruptions and prevent economic hard to businesses, employees and consumers.
More specifically, Senator Gardner’s legislation would:
- Grant state governors authority under the Taft Hartley Act to form board of inquiry, enabling governors to petition federal courts to enjoin slowdowns, strikes or lockouts at ports in their states;
- Explicitly include slowdowns as triggers for Taft Hartley powers
“The work slowdowns at West Coast ports within the last year had a damaging effect on the produce industry and agriculture, in general,” said Robert Guenther, United Fresh’s Senior Vice President for Public Policy. “Fresh produce providers lost valuable export opportunities or product because they couldn’t get commodities moved. Knowing that there is a way to keep contentious negotiations from going on with no end in sight, is essential to the safe, efficient movement of fruits and vegetables. We will be working hard with our allies on Capitol Hill and in business to get this legislation passed.”