Chilean port officials threaten strike

06/05/2014 11:13:00 AM
Andy Nelson

A union representing Chilean port, border and airport officials is threatening to strike over health and other benefits, but U.S. shipments shouldn’t be affected.

The strike, tentatively set for June 17, would affect all Chilean ports, borders and airports from Arica in northern Chile to Punta Arenas in the south, according to a report confirmed by the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX).

Even if the strike happens, it shouldn’t affect fruit exports to the U.S. and Canada, said Fernando Balart, ASOEX’s marketing manager for U.S. and Latin America.

Chilean clementines, apples, Asian pears, kiwifruit, grapes and pears were shipping in U.S. markets in early June, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

“There won’t be major problems or effects on shipments to North America,” Balart said. “We’re hopeful things won’t get further complicated if this situation escalates.”

The union threatening to strike represents Chile’s Agriculture and Livestock Service. The union represents 2,500 officials and 2,000 others working on a contract basis.

The one-day strike June 17 could be followed by a strike of indefinite length beginning July 22.



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