SFIA Urges Action on West Coast Port Negotiations
SILVER SPRING, MD – January 15, 2015 – In a letter sent to the leaders of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) along with other allied organizations are encouraging the ILWU and PMA to resolve their contract negotiations immediately.
“The labor disruption at West Coast Ports has slowed the flow of commerce into and out of the U.S. significantly,” said Bill Sells, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs for SFIA. “The situation is harming the U.S. economy and it will only get worse. It is time for the two-sides to stop blaming each other, resolve their differences, and complete negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. For the good of the country, we hope the Federal Mediator will bring this labor issue to a swift resolution.”
According to the letter, “sales of American exports remain clouded in uncertainty across Asia as overseas competitors eagerly highlight the problems at West Coast ports as a reason not to purchase American made or grown products. Manufacturers have had to slow and even stop production lines due to delays in receiving containers from the West Coast that hold critical inputs. Retailers are now seeing delays of early spring merchandise including products for Valentine’s Day and Easter”.
The PMA and ILWU have been renegotiating an expired contract since May, resulting in slowdowns at ports all along the West Coast that have made it hard to get cargo on and off the docks.
Involved parties fear a lockout if there is no resolution. Port employers last staged a 10 day lockout in 2002. Those 10 days cost the economy upwards of $1 billion a day by some estimates. A recent study suggested another lockout would double those costs if it went longer than 20 days.
Over 150 organizations signed on to the letter addressed to the ILWU and the PMA. Click here to read the full letter