Yesterday President Bush issued an executive order invoking the Taft-Hartley Act, which could order longshoreman currently on strike on the West Coast back to work.

This action is the first step in a process of intervention into the labor dispute that continues to disrupt shipping on the West Coast and has effectively shut down 29 ports.

“Although we are encouraged by the latest developments, there still remains a need for some fundamental agreement by labor and management involved in the dispute to resolve this situation in the most expedient manner,” says National Pork Producers Council president Dave Roper, a pork producer from Kimberly, Idaho. “NPPC will continue to work with the Bush Administration on resolving what is a major threat to our national economy.”

With the closure of West Coast ports, $2 billion a day is being drained from the U. S. economy and an untold number of perishable meat and produce products are sitting in cargo holds.

“Pork producers are already suffering from worsening economic conditions,” says Roper. “There is concern that a significant number of pork products will be stalled at the port with the potential to impact hog prices which are already at an all-time low. We remain hopeful that a fast resolution to this dispute will be negotiated.”

Others aren't as hopeful and recent indications are that the negotiations have stalled indefinitely. At least one issue in the dispute is workers' fear of losing their jobs as technology is installed that will replace many of them. The union is standing firm that displaced workers need more assurances that they will receive new training and new jobs.

National Pork Producers Council