The two organisations announced yesterday (14 June) that the tentative agreement was reached with assistance from acting US Secretary of Labour Julie Su for a new contract covering workers at all 29 West Coast ports.

The organisations said details of the agreement will not be released at this time as the agreement is subject to ratification by both parties.

However, PMA president James McKenna and ILWU president Willie Adams said in a joint statement: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement that recognises the heroic efforts and personal sacrifices of the ILWU workforce in keeping our ports operating. We are also pleased to turn our full attention back to the operation of the West Coast Ports.”

This comes ahead of the one-year anniversary of when the West Coast port contract expired (July 2022).

New agreement to provide supply chain stability

Nate Herman, American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)’s senior vice president of policy tells Just Style: “After more than a year of negotiations, President Biden finally heeded our calls to bring the two sides together on a deal that will provide certainty as we enter the critical back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.”

President and CEO of the National Retail Federation (NRF), Matthew Shay says this new agreement will provide stability to the supply chain and it will also provide assurance to the millions of businesses and employees that rely on the West Coast ports’ smooth and efficient operation.

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Shay continues: “The West Coast ports are a critical artery for retailers and other businesses into the US market. We urge the parties to quickly ratify the tentative agreement to bring certainty back to the West Coast ports. It is essential to begin the negotiation process early for the next labour contract and avoid a future lapse in continuity.”

In April, NRF released a statement regarding the recent disruption of West Coast port operations, expressing concern over the impact on the retail industry and urging the US Government to take action to resolve the issue.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) also pointed out earlier last week the US was heading into peak shipping seasons for back-to-school and holiday shopping and emphasised how critical it is to avoid work stoppages at the nation’s busiest ports.

Steve Lamar, AAFA president and CEO urged the Biden Administration to step in, accelerate efforts, and ensure all parties remain at the table for a speedy and fair resolution of the West Coast port contract expiration issue.