Retailers call on union and ports for long-term stability

by MM&D Online Staff

WASHINGTON, DC—The National Retail Federation called on the International Longshoremen’s Association and the US Maritime Alliance to seek long-term stability at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports following last week’s strike at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

“The threat of potential or ongoing labor disruptions will force retailers and other stakeholders to reevaluate supply chain options for their cargo,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Events like last week’s strike can do a great deal of damage to the image of East Coast ports as reliable business partners for the shippers represented by NRF.”

Shay’s comments came in a letter to union and port management executives following an unexpected January 29 strike that resulted in serious backups of cargo.

“Long-term stability at the East Coast and Gulf Coast ports is essential,” Shay said. “We believe early negotiations on the existing contract should be the path forward and hope that solutions to the tough issues – including those not currently in the contract – will be worked out at the bargaining table and not with short-term illegal strikes.”

“Such disruptions send a very troublesome message to the port’s customers – the cargo owners,” Shay said. “While there may be outstanding non-contract issues, electing to walk off the job in protest even for a short period of time only adds to ongoing congestion issues facing the port and its customers.”