The West Coast labor dispute has taken another victim, Venezuelans hungry for the golden arches.
The Associated Press reports that the over 100 McDonald’s in the tropical nation of Venezuela can no longer serve french fries because of a labor dispute involving ports along the West Coast of the United States. Since May, the Pacific Maritime Association, which represents port owners, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, have been unable to agree on a new labor contract.
McDonald’s blames the port dispute for stopping the export of frozen fries to the country. The situation has gotten so bad, McDonald’s has even begun serving alternatives like deep-fried arepa flatbreads, or yucca, a starchy root.
Though McDonald’s has put the blame on the port dispute, some locals have begun blaming their embattled socialist administration.
“It’s because of the situation here; it’s a total debacle,” Maria Guerreiro told the AP. Her 2-year-old daughter won’t eat the super-starchy root; all she wanted was a Happy Meal.
Sonia Ruseler, an Argentina-based spokeswoman for Arcos Dorados, which runs McDonald’s restaurants in Latin America, said they are trying to resolve the shortages and until then, “will continue to give our clients the McDonald’s experience, offering 100 percent Venezuelan options.”
Taking advantage of the situation, Burger King took to social media Tuesday to remind the locals they are still offering American-style french fries.
John Toaspern, chief marketing officer with the US Potato Board, argued that the country’s import of frozen potatoes was in trouble long before the labor dispute escalated.
The federal mediators announced Monday that they are planning on intervening to resolve the labor dispute.
Allison Beck, Acting Director of the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, said in a statement: “In response to a joint request for assistance from the parties, collective bargaining between ILWU and PMA representatives will continue as soon as possible under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).”
“We are prepared and ready to render prompt assistance” Beck said. “Deputy Director Scot Beckenbaugh, a senior FMCS mediator with extensive collective bargaining experience in this industry, has been assigned to help the parties bring these important negotiations to a mutually acceptable resolution.”
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