Retail Market Breathes A Sigh Of Relief As West Coast Ports Deal Reached

Retail Market Breathes A Sigh Of Relief As West Coast Ports Deal Reached

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced a tentative agreement on a new six-year contract covering workers at all 29 West Coast ports. Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su assisted in the agreement; the parties did not release details of the deal, and it is subject to ratification by both parties.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement recognizing the heroic efforts and personal sacrifices of the ILWU workforce in keeping our ports operating,” said PMA President James McKenna and ILWU President Willie Adams in a joint statement. “We are also pleased to turn our full attention back to the operation of the West Coast Ports.”

The parties have been negotiating since the labor contract expired in July 2022.

“On behalf of the retail industry, we are relieved to see the parties have come to a tentative mutual agreement on a long-term contract for labor operations at the West Coast ports, ending over a year of negotiations and uncertainty,” said National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. “A new agreement provides stability to the supply chain and assurance to the millions of businesses and employees who rely on smooth and efficient operations from the West Coast ports.

“The West Coast ports are a critical artery for retailers and other businesses into the U.S. market. We urge the parties to quickly ratify the tentative agreement to bring certainty back to the West Coast ports. It is essential to begin the negotiation process early for the next labor contract and avoid a future lapse in continuity,” continued Shay.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) also issued a statement Thursday.

“It’s encouraging to hear that a tentative agreement has been reached between negotiating parties on the West Coast, not just for retailers, but for every industry that relies on this global commerce gateway,” the RILA said. “The West Coast ports are key links in the retail supply chain. With a tentative agreement in place, retailers can keep their supply chains moving with more certainty, consumers can rest assured their items will arrive on time, and the U.S. economy has a reduced risk of more looming inflationary pressure.”

Both retail organizations and the PMA thanked the Biden Administration and the involvement of Acting U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su in the negotiations.