US’ NRF raises concern over port disruptions amid labour dispute


US-based retail trade association National Retail Federation (NRF) has issued a statement addressing disruptions at the ports of Oakland and Long Beach. The new disruptions come as the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association have failed to reach and ratify a new labour agreement following more than a year of negotiations.

As the leading authority and voice of retail, NRF has advocated for proactive negotiations between the involved parties since before the contract initially expired in July 2022. The trade association has also pushed for an extension of the existing contract throughout the negotiations to prevent any disruptions, NRF said in a press release.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has voiced concern over disruptions at the ports of Oakland and Long Beach due to unresolved labour contract negotiations.
The trade association urged President Biden’s administration for proactive negotiations and a speedy resolution to prevent further impact on the retail industry and wider supply chain.

NRF’s senior vice president of government relations, David French, expressed concern over the labour agreement that remains unsigned more than a year after negotiations began.

French said: “The US ports, particularly those on the West Coast, play a critical role in the vitality of the American economy. 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 labour contract is established. It is imperative that the parties return to the negotiating table. We urge the administration to mediate to ensure the parties quickly finalise a new contract without additional disruptions.”

Concerns rose in April when the ILWU decided to withhold labour at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, leading to an unforeseen closure of all terminals. This action posed significant challenges for the retail industry and the broader supply chain.

In an effort to address these issues, the NRF, earlier this year, arranged a coalition letter to President Joe Biden, signed by over 230 associations. The letter urged the Biden administration to intervene and help the parties conclude their negotiations. The NRF reiterated this call in its recent statement, asking the administration to actively engage with the parties to expedite the finalisation of a new contract.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DP)

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