SUPPLY CHAIN

RILA applauds East Coast port labor extension

BY Staff Writer

Arlington, Va. — The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) issued the following statement in response to an announcement that the U.S. Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association have agreed to a 90-day extension of the collective bargaining agreement due to expire on Sept. 30.

“The 90-day extension is welcomed news for retailers because it ensures that a work stoppage at the ports will not interfere with the flow of goods during the critical holiday season,” said Kelly Kolb, VP for government affairs. “Ports play a critical role in the supply chain and a potential disruption would be harmful to the retail industry as it would lead to lost sales and aggravated customers.”

RILA will continue to closely monitor the progress of negotiations and strongly urge the parties to reach a long-term agreement as soon as possible in order to remove the threat of a devastating work stoppage at the East and Gulf Coast ports.

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FINANCE

Retailers charge that proposed Visa/MasterCard interchange settlement unacceptable

BY Michael Johnsen

Arlington, Va. — Retailers are up in arms over the proposed settlement filed in July of antitrust lawsuits filed by merchants against Visa, MasterCard and the nation’s largest banks. A total of nine associations representing a broad swath of the retail industry expressed their reservations to members of Congress on Thursday, charging that their interests were not represented and asking Congress to reject that settlement.

“The proposed settlement, which was negotiated by Visa, MasterCard and lawyers purporting to represent the merchant community, is one-sided and preserves the very anticompetitive actions that were the genesis of the lawsuits," the collective associations suggested. "Quite simply, the proposed settlement is a bad deal for merchants and their customers. While the card networks and their representatives have suggested it is a fait accompli, the growing objections from the merchant community foreshadow the fight that lies ahead as Visa and MasterCard attempt to force the terms of the settlement on nearly 8 million merchants.”

“Given the important oversight role of Congress and your continued interest in this important issue, we write today to urge you to reject the false claims from the card networks and their representatives. The proposed settlement does nothing to resolve the failures in the electronic payment market and continued Congressional involvement in these issues is imperative. We look forward to keeping you fully informed as the legal process moves forward and the chorus of objections grows,” the letter closed.

The letter was signed by the National Association of College Stores, the National Association of Convenience Stores, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, the National Community Pharmacists Association, the National Cooperative Grocers Association, the National Grocers Association, the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America.

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OPERATIONS

Hiring survey indicates best holiday job market in five years

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Richmond, Va. — An annual seasonal hiring survey released Thursday by Snagajob indicates that more holiday jobs will be available this year than have been expected in any previous season in the study’s five-year history. 


The survey of more than 1,000 hourly hiring managers with responsibility for seasonal hiring, conducted by IPSOS Public Affairs for Snagajob, included the following highlights:

  • Among hiring managers with responsibility to hire year-end, seasonal workers for the holiday period, 63% will make hires this year, the highest percentage in the Snagajob five-year survey and up 12 percentage points from last year (51%).
  • Significantly more workers will be hired, as hiring managers said they expect to hire 6.1 seasonal workers, on average – a nearly 50% increase over last year and almost 100% over the survey’s low point in 2009.
  • When comparing the hiring managers who expect their fourth-quarter sales to be better than last year with those who expect sales to be worse, the survey showed a net score of +20, indicating an expected sales increase. Last year, positive sales were expected, but only by a +7 margin.

“For the past few seasons, we’ve had to talk about ‘incremental improvements’ being expected in holiday hiring,” said Jason Hamilton, VP of marketing for Snagajob. “But this year, there are strong indications that there should be substantial movement in getting us back to the kinds of holiday hiring levels we were accustomed to prior to the recession.”

According to Hamilton, the survey showed that 24% more hiring managers are hiring this season, and hiring managers, on average, are planning to hire about 50% more people.

“Those indicators taken together point to a vastly improved seasonal job market,” Hamilton said.

Among those who will be hiring, 57% expect to complete their hiring by the end of October – if not sooner – compared with 46% last year. Nearly half (49%) of seasonal workers are expected to be full-time hires, the highest level recorded in the five-year survey. Added to that, hiring managers who will be making hires expect that 50% of their seasonal hires will be able to stay on after the holidays and take a permanent job.

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