Calls for White House involvement in West Coast dispute
WASHINGTON – The National Retail Federation is reiterating its call for the Biden administration to get involved in stalled labor negotiations after reports of shutdowns over the weekend at two California ports.
Shutdowns at the Port of Oakland and the Port of Long Beach come as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association have failed to reach and ratify a new labor agreement following more than a year of negotiations, NRF said in a press release.
“The United States ports, particularly those on the West Coast, play a critical role in the vitality of the American economy,” according to David French, senior vice president of government relations for NRF. “Thousands of retailers and other businesses depend on smooth and efficient operations at the ports to deliver goods to consumers every day.”
“As we enter the peak shipping season for the holidays, these additional disruptions will force retailers and other important shipping partners to continue to shift cargo away from the West Coast ports until a new labor contract is established,” French said. “It is imperative that the parties return to the negotiating table. We urge the administration to mediate to ensure the parties quickly finalize a new contract without additional disruptions.”
The federation said it has advocated for the parties to negotiate since before the contract expired, in July 2022, and has continued to urge extension of the existing contract during negotiations to avoid port disruptions.
NRF earlier this year organized a letter to President Biden, signed by more than 230 associations, urging the White House to work with the parties, French said. “We reassert our call on the administration to engage with the parties to help them finalize a new contract.”