With the latest talks between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the United States Maritime Alliance breaking down on the East Coast, and with their contract set to expire Dec. 29th, industry spokespeople fear a strike may be unavoidable without government intervention. With that in mind, the National Retail Federation issued a statement from its vice president for supply chain and customs policy, Jonathan Gold:
“NRF urges both sides to remain at the table until a deal is reached. 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. 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.
“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.”