News Column

Port Strike Has Retailers Eyeing Alternatives

Dec. 4, 2012

Mai Hoang, Yakima Herald-Republic, Wash.

Shipping

All the strategy sessions by retailers for this year's holiday shopping season likely did not include plans for the week-long strikes at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The recent strikes came after contract negotiations broke down with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Clerical Unit and the Los Angeles, which represents about 800 clerical workers. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the strikes are costing the national economy about $1 billion a day, including the salaries of truck drivers who are paid by how much cargo is they deliver from the ports.

Given that the two ports handle a third of the nation's cargo shipments, the retail industry is concerned that the strikes may affect adversely affect holiday retail sales.

As a result, the National Retail Federation is calling for President Barack Obama to intervene.

"The shutdown is already having a significant negative economic impact on retailers trying to bring in merchandise for their final push for holiday sales and will soon have an impact on consumers," National Retail Federal president Matthew Shay said in a written statement. "The work stoppage not only impacts retailers, but is also affecting their product vendors -- many of which are small businesses -- and other industries like manufacturers and agricultural exporters that rely on the ports."

The National Retail Federation joined several other organizations in signing a joint letter to President Obama again urging him to intervene in this situation.



Source: (c)2012 Yakima Herald-Republic (Yakima, Wash.) Distributed by MCT Information Services


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