SFIA Applauds Agreement Reached After Months-Long West Coast Ports Disruption
SILVER SPRING, MD - February 25, 2015 - After nine months of labor talks and several months of major back-ups and costly delays at West Coast ports, the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) finally reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year labor contract. The deal was announced on February 20th and subject to ratification by both parties. President Obama recently sent Labor Secretary Tom Perez to assist in the negotiations and he was instrumental in breaking the impasse.
“We welcome this agreement and we appreciate the engagement of all stakeholders in bringing these protracted negotiations to a close,” says Bill Sells, SFIA’s vice president of government relations. “We urge both parties to work diligently over the coming weeks to clear the backlog and get our ports back in working order. The SFIA is committed to working with other stakeholders in searching for solutions that will prevent this type of severe disruption to our nation’s infrastructure from occurring again in the future.”
The PMA and ILWU commenced contract negotiations last May, but were unable to reach agreement before the previous contract’s expiration on July 1, 2014. Given the mounting congestion at the ports that occurred in the wake of the expired agreement, importers were forced to enact costly contingency plans as they scrambled to get product into the country and onto store shelves, especially for the holiday shopping season. The SFIA worked closely with industry stakeholders and government officials throughout this period to advocate for a swift resolution to the negotiations.
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