In light of the postponed negotiations between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) sent a letter today, urging the two parties to continue negotiations in order to reach a contract agreement before the Sept. 30 deadline.
“As negotiations falter, retailers are urging both sides to get back to the negotiating table and avert what would be a disastrous strike this fall. A disruption of this magnitude would be devastating to the retail industry and would have severe consequences for the U.S. economy,” said RILA president Sandy Kennedy.
The potential strike would affect 14 East and Gulf Coast ports, which would force retailers to redirect their supply chains during the crucial period before the holiday shopping season. The disruption would impact the entire industry during a peak shipping season and seriously impede the flow of commerce. Supply chain changes of this magnitude are undesirable to retailers due to the time they take to both implement and reverse.
“We understand the negotiations themselves have many complicated components that need to be addressed, but we’re also aware of the potential short- and long-term consequences that will occur if cargo is diverted from the East and Gulf Coast ports,” Kennedy said. “The negative impact a strike would have on retailers and our overall economy cannot be overstated.”