Business groups urge labor/management to avoid port shutdown on U.S. East Coast

Maritime trade publications have reported that the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) is planning a one-day shutdown and march on Washington to protest “government interference” by the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor and state port operators in the Southeast. No date for the proposed shutdown has been announced.

The National Retail Federation (NRF), as well as several other U.S. business associations have called on the U.S. Maritime Alliance and the International Longshoremen’s Association to work together to avoid a one-day shutdown of East Coast and Gulf Coast ports proposed by the ILA.

“Thousands of companies and millions of workers rely on these ports and any disruption to their activity even for a day could have a negative impact on the U.S. economy,” NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jon Gold said.

“While the union might have concerns with certain local government actions, engaging in a coastwide shutdown is not the answer. We encourage labor and management to work together and with the government to arrive at a solution that does not disrupt the efficient movement of goods through the nation’s ports.”

“We applaud the fact that the ILA and the U.S. Maritime Alliance have begun informal discussions on a contract extension well in advance of the current contract expiration, but proposing a shutdown runs counter to this spirit of cooperation and may threaten this positive action,” Gold said. “We urge the ILA to reconsider its plans and avoid damaging the image of East Coast and Gulf Coast ports as reliable business partners for retailers and other shippers.”

Source: NRF

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