Over the weekend of February 6, in the wake of tense labor negotiations between shippers and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, a number of west coast ports were temporarily closed.
The Pacific Maritime Association, who alleges that the port workers’ union has been carrying out a deliberate labor slow-down in order to gain bargaining power, called for the closure on Friday. “After three months of union slowdowns, it makes no sense to pay extra for less work,” says Wade Gates, a spokesperson of the PMA.
Members of the union were, unsurprisingly, quick to fire back at the PMA. A spokesperson of the port workers’ union called the closure “a form of economic terrorism by predominately foreign-owned companies who are hurting American businesses and communities.”
While critics of the union argue that port workers are already among the nation’s highest paid laborers and should therefore be more flexible at the negotiating table, there is no doubt that the closure will be cause for concern for American businesses.
Shipments have been backlogged at West Coast ports for weeks, and the weekend shutdown is likely to exacerbate the problem. Julie Nomi, production manager at a Seattle clothing start up called Tomboy Exchange, is concerned about her company’s inability to meet supply demands due to gridlock in the ports. “To have our sales disrupted by close to $100,000 a month is a very big deal to us,” said Nomi. According to one estimate by the National Retail Federation, a total port shutdown could cost the U.S. economy as much as $2 billion per day.
Here in Philadelphia, we’re still plugging away, working tirelessly to keep our clients’ freight moving on schedule. You can count on American Supply Company to keep moving even when our friends on the Left Coast can’t. Give us a call today to find out more about all the services we can offer your business!