a letter addressed to the heads of the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and
the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), Retail Industry Leaders
Association (RILA) President Sandy Kennedy urged both leaders to remain focused
on securing a new, long-term contract in the immediate future to ensure
stability at the west coast ports, highlighting 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,” RILA President Sandy
Kennedy writes in the letter.
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. Unlike in 2002, where produced rotted on the docks, goods
passed out of season and the American economy lost close to a billion dollars a
day, 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.”
including RILA members, are some of the largest users of the global supply
chain and rely on access to efficient and reliable transportation systems every
day. In this system, ports play an outsized role as the hub where goods are
transported from ship to shore and sent along to consumers across the
“It is our hope that both sides are engaged in open and honest
discussions, moving with haste toward a long-term solution that will stabilize
the labor picture on the west coast. Securing an agreement is of
paramount importance to the retail industry,” Kennedy
concludes in the letter.
read a copy of the letter, please click here.
RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most
innovative retail companies. 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