Retailers welcome ports contract as ‘good news’
It appears that retailers’ holiday shipments will not be disrupted by labor disputes for the next few years.
Labor and management at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports have reached tentative agreement on a six-year contract renewal, the National Retail Federation said on Thursday.
“This is good news,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy. “This agreement is very important for retailers who are now in the process of bringing in their holiday season merchandise and were worried that the current contract could have expired right in the middle of that season. Retailers can now count on receiving their merchandise without disruption to the supply chain.”
“This ensures that we will have stability at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports over the next six years,” Gold said. “That’s a good, long time.”
The International Longshoremen’s Association and the United Maritime Alliance announced this afternoon that they have reached tentative agreement on a six-year contract covering East Coast and Gulf Coast ports that would take effect after the current contract expires on Sept. 30. The two sides have until July 10 to finalize the agreement, which will then be subject to ratification votes by the full membership of each group.
NRF led more than 100 organizations in a March letter to the union and management urging both parties to resume talks after negotiations broke down earlier this year. The letter noted that East Coast and Gulf Coast ports picked up business after prolonged contract talks led to a slowdown and congestion issues at West Coast ports during 2014 and early 2015.
If talks had not resumed, some of that business could have been lost back to the West Coast, the letter warned, saying contract-related disruptions can have “enormous adverse economic impacts.”
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