AmericasPorts and Logistics

US industry groups seek early engagement from White House in west coast port labour contract negotiations

Industry leaders representing 49 associations sent a letter to the White House on March 1, imploring “early and persistent engagement in the impending contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).”

They note that, “though negotiations have yet to begin ahead of the contract’s July 1st expiration, the uncertainty is already affecting operations on the ground. Importers and exporters wary of further disruption are already adjusting freight strategies to avoid or mitigate potential impacts.”

Among the associations that signed the letter is the Retail Industry Leaders Association. Brian Dodge, president of RILA, said that “allowing a work slowdown or a shutdown to impact operations would amount to a self-inflicted wound, compounding congestion and leading to even higher costs on everyday products for consumers.”

Steve Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, cited a statistic included in the letter: ““Previous labor disputes at the ports cost the US economy upwards of $1bn to $2bn per day,” he said. “To say the stakes are even higher today is an extreme understatement, as even a short slowdown or shutdown will disrupt already fragile supply chains and compound inflationary pressure.”

The associations support Biden administration efforts “to encourage and, if necessary, convene the parties to facilitate negotiations.”

Kim Biggar

Kim Biggar started writing in the supply chain sector in 2000, when she joined the Canadian Association of Supply Chain & Logistics Management. In 2004/2005, she was project manager for the Government of Canada-funded Canadian Logistics Skills Committee, which led to her 13-year role as communications manager of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. A longtime freelance writer, Kim has contributed to publications including The Forwarder, 3PL Americas, The Shipper Advocate and Supply Chain Canada.
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