World Trade 100

Retailers Call for Presidential Intervention

Port contract negotiations break down.

December 18, 2012

Following the breakdown in contract talks between the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the United States Maritime Alliance, Ltd. (USMX), Jonathan Gold, vice president for supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Federation (NRF) said, “It is extremely disheartening to learn that the two sides failed to reach an agreement during today’s [December 18, 2012] negotiations. NRF urges both sides to remain at the table until a deal is reached.”

Gold continued, saying, “It is imperative that both sides verbally announce their intentions to return to the negotiations. A coast-wide port shutdown would have a significant impact across all businesses and industries that rely on the ports, particularly retail.”

Referring to the fragile state of the U.S. economy, Gold added, “The last thing the economy needs right now is another strike, which would impact all international trade and commerce at the nation’s East and Gulf Coast container ports. This is truly a ‘container cliff’ in the making.”

Gold concluded his comments by calling for Presidential intervention. “The retail industry, once again, calls on President Obama to engage directly in the negotiations. The President should utilize all available tools, including Taft-Hartley, to eliminate even the threat of a strike or lockout. The time for leadership is now.”