NRF: Obama Should Bring ILWU, PMA to Washington
WASHINGTON-Faced with the continuing impasse between the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA), President Barack Obama should bring the two sides to Washington to settle the contract dispute that is creating congestion at West Coast ports, according to the National Retail Federation.
In a statement, Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy, said, “It has been nearly a week since President Obama dispatched Labor Secretary (Tom) Perez to the West Coast to help settle the protracted contract dispute between the ILWU and PMA .... If a deal is not reached today, we support the decision to move the negotiations to Washington, and we call upon the president to personally engage in the discussions until an agreement is reached ... The ILWU and PMA need to reach a final agreement today.”
Gold noted that Secretary Perez had characterized meetings between the two sides as “productive,” but a final deal has still not been reached. He said NRF understood that Perez had given the two sides a deadline to reach an agreement (not specified in the statement).
He also said millions of U.S. businesses and employees “are at risk due to the impasse ... The nation’s retailers and supply-chain stakeholders cannot afford another week of uncertainty at the Pacific ports, where dozens upon dozens of ships and thousands of containers are held out at sea, and where hundreds of millions of dollars in consumer goods, inventory and merchandise sit idle.”