RILA president urges resolution to West Coast ports contract disput

Arlington, Va. -- The president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Sandy Kennedy, has sent a letter to the heads of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) urging them to remain focused on securing a new, long-term contract in the immediate future to ensure stability at the west coast ports. The letter reflects the growing angst among the retail community over the lack of a new agreement.

“Without a finalized contract, the chief concern of a possible repeat of the 2002 shutdown remains,” Kennedy wrote.

The protracted negotiations follow the expiration of a six-year agreement between the PMA and ILWU almost two months ago, leaving the long-term stability of the west coast ports as a reliable channel in the global supply chain unsettled. Work has continued during the extended talks.

“Retailers continue to exercise contingency plans throughout their massive supply chain operations despite the fact the west coast negotiations have not reached an impasse,” Kennedy continued. “While goods continue to move at an efficient rate through the west coast ports of entry, each day without a finalized agreement jeopardizes the movement of goods destined for shelves during the all-important holiday season.”


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