Industry Groups Urge WH: Preempt Disruption at Busiest Ports

Against the backdrop of significant global economic anxiety due to the evolving crisis in Ukraine and mounting challenges to America’s already stressed supply chain, industry leaders representing 49 associations sent a letter to the White House this morning urging the administration for “early and persistent” engagement in the impending contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).

The U.S. west coast ports account for over 44% of nationwide container port traffic. With negotiations yet to formally begin ahead of the contract’s July 1st expiration, uncertainty is already disrupting freight strategies and operations on the ground.

“Pandemic-related disruptions in the nation’s supply chain have been costly and inconvenient,” said Brian Dodge, Retail Industry Leaders Association, president. “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.”

“Previous labor disputes at the ports cost the U.S. economy upwards of $1 to $2 billion per day,” said Steve Lamar, president and CEO, American Apparel & Footwear Association. “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 signed industry leaders are urging the Biden-Harris Administration to encourage and, if necessary, convene the parties to facilitate negotiations:

“These efforts will benefit American importers and exporters, the tens of millions of workers they employ, and the hundreds of millions of consumers they serve. Swift action and consistent attention to this matter can safeguard our shared economic gains and protect the progress your Administration has made in addressing supply chain disruption and port congestion.”

The full letter can be viewed here.

Retail Industry Leaders Association

RILA is the US trade association for leading retailers. We convene decision-makers, advocate for the industry, and promote operational excellence and innovation. Our aim is to reimagine and transform the retail ecosystem - and equip leading retailers to succeed in it. 
RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.
American Apparel & Footwear Association

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) is the national trade association representing apparel, footwear and other sewn products companies, and their suppliers, which compete in the global market. Representing more than 1,000 world famous name brands, AAFA is the trusted public policy and political voice of the apparel and footwear industry, its management and shareholders, its three million U.S. workers, and its contribution of more than $350 billion in annual U.S. retail sales. AAFA drives progress on three key priorities: Brand Protection; Supply Chain & Sourcing; Trade, Logistics, & Manufacturing. AAFA approaches this work through the lens of purpose-driven leadership in a manner that supports each member’s ability to build and sustain inclusive and diverse cultures, meet and advance ESG goals, and draw upon the latest technology.
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