NRF calls for ports to remain open despite contract rejection

Washington, D.C. -- The National Retail Federation expressed disappointment on Friday over the failure of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union's Local 63 Office Clerical Unit and the Harbor Employers Association to reach a contract agreement.

An eight-day strike in November and December 2012 shut down most terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach before the parties agreed on a tentative new contract with the help of a federal mediator. But union members on Wednesday voted down the contract.

“We are extremely disappointed by this vote and strongly urge the parties to work through their differences without any kind of disruption. Ratification of a contract is needed to give retailers and other industries that rely on these ports the predictability they need to make long-term plans and get back to growing their businesses and creating jobs. The shutdown during the holiday shopping season was more than just a fight between labor and management – it threatened to impact consumers’ shopping plans at the most crucial time of the year. We can’t afford to see another shutdown. As labor and management work to resolve this situation, uninterrupted operation of the ports should be their top priority. Too many jobs across the country depend on these ports to let any interference with operations be considered an acceptable way of doing business,” said NRF VP supply chain and customs policy Jonathan Gold in a prepared statement.