WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Retail Federation welcomed today’s announcement that labor and management at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports have reached tentative agreement on a six-year contract renewal.
“This is good news,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “This agreement is very important for retailers who are now in the process of bringing in their holiday season merchandise and were worried that the current contract could have expired right in the middle of that season. Retailers can now count on receiving their merchandise without disruption to the supply chain.”
“This ensures that we will have stability at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports over the next six years,” Gold said. “That’s a good, long time.”
The International Longshoremen’s Assocation and the United Maritime Alliance announced this afternoon that they have reached tentative agreement on a six-year contract covering East Coast and Gulf Coast ports that would take effect after the current contract expires on September 30. The two sides have until July 10 to finalize the agreement, which will then be subject to ratification votes by the full membership of each group.
NRF led more than 100 organizations in a March letter to the union and management urging both parties to resume talks after negotiations broke down earlier this year. The letter noted that East Coast and Gulf Coast ports picked up business after prolonged contract talks led to a slowdown and congestion issues at West Coast ports during 2014 and early 2015. If talks had not resumed, some of that business could have been lost back to the West Coast, the letter warned, saying contract-related disruptions can have “enormous adverse economic impacts.”
The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association. Based in Washington, D.C., NRF represents discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.