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RILA President Sandy Kennedy urged PMA and ILWU leaders to ensure stability at the west coast ports

Letter Underscores Retail Industry Concerns To The Heads Of The PMA And ILWU

Arlington, VA, 2014-8-26 — /EPR Retail News/ — In 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.

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.  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.”

Retailers, 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 continent.

“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.

To 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 and abroad.

Zachary Taylor
Coordinator, Public Affairs
Phone: 703-600-2042

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