SAN FRANSICSO and WASHINGTON — The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) announced a tentative agreement over a new labor contract earlier this month. The association and union have been in negotiations since July 2022 when the labor contract expired, impacting the retail supply chain.

The new contract spans six years and covers workers at all 29 West Coast ports.

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

To help PMA and ILWU reach an agreement, the National Retail Federation (NRF), alongside 230 associations, signed a letter in March urging the Biden administration to work with the parties. In early June, the NRF again called on the administration, imploring for intervention following disruptions at the Ports of Oakland and Long Beach.

Acting US Secretary of Labor Julie Su provided assistance to PMA and ILWU, leading to the new deal.

“On behalf of the retail industry, we are relieved to see the parties have come to a tentative mutual agreement on a long-term contract for labor operations at the West Coast ports, ending over a year of negotiations and uncertainty,” said Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of the NRF. “A new agreement provides stability to the supply chain and assurance to the millions of businesses and employees who rely on smooth and efficient operations from the West Coast ports.

“The West Coast ports are a critical artery for retailers and other businesses into the US market,” he added. “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 labor contract and avoid a future lapse in continuity.”

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