For Immediate Release: December 7, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and Washington Congressman Jim McDermott today were joined by ten of their colleagues from Oregon and Washington to call for continuing negotiations and a fair and amicable settlement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association.

“It is imperative for the health of the regional economy that an agreement is reached without an unnecessary and potentially devastating interruption in grain exports,” the Congressional leaders wrote. “We strongly urge both the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association and the ILWU to continue negotiating in good faith to resolve the remaining issues and to swiftly move toward a final contract agreeable to both parties.”

Joining Senator Merkley and Congressman McDermott are Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Washington Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, Oregon Congressman Peter Defazio, and Washington Congressmen Norm Dicks, Adam Smith, Rick Larsen and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, as well as Congressmen-elect Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer.

Full text of the letter to ILWU leaders and members of the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association is below:

December 7, 2012

Mr. Robert McEllrath
President
International Longshore and Warehouse Union
1188 Franklin Street, 4th floor
San Francisco, CA 94109

Mr. Tom Hammond
President & CEO
Columbia Grain
1300 SW 5th Ave., Suite 2929
Portland, OR 97201

Mr. Tony Flagg
President
United Grain Corp.
900 Washington Street, Suite 700
Vancouver, WA 98660

Mr. Gregory R. Page
Chairman of the Board & CEO
Cargill, Inc.
P.O. Box 9300
Minneapolis, MN 55440

Mr. Carl Casale
President & CEO
CHS
Corporate Offices
5500 Cenex Drive
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077  

Mr. Serge Schoen
CEO
Louis Dreyfus Commodities
Westblaak 92
3012 KM Rotterdam
Netherlands

Dear Sirs:

We are writing to urge you to continue negotiations to reach a fair and amicable settlement on the proposed collective bargaining agreement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association. As you well know, it is imperative for the health of the regional economy that an agreement is reached without an unnecessary and potentially devastating interruption in grain exports.

The ILWU and members of the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association have a decades-long relationship that has supported domestic grain markets and developed a tremendously successful structure for U.S. grain exports. In recent months both sides have continued operations without major interruption in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement. We strongly urge both the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association and the ILWU to continue negotiating in good faith to resolve the remaining issues and to swiftly move toward a final contract agreeable to both parties.

Sincerely,

Senator Jeffrey A. Merkley
Congressman Jim McDermott
Senator Ron Wyden
Senator Patty Murray
Senator Maria Cantwell
Congressman Peter Defazio
Congressman Norm Dicks
Congressman Adam Smith
Congressman Rick Larsen
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene
Congressman-elect Denny Heck
Congressman-elect Derek Kilmer

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