The American National Retail Federation (NRF) called on the Biden Administration on Monday to intervene with West Coast port labor negotiations, after reports of disruptions at terminals at Ports of Oakland and Long Beach.

In the never-ending dispute over contract negotiations, the US West Coast is witnessing disruptions in cargo operations across major ports. The talks are ongoing between the PMA and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), as both sides negotiate the collective bargaining agreement.

The latest report for the disruptions at key marine terminals at the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, the Ports of Oakland and Seattle comes from the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).

The collective bargaining agreement that the ILWU and PMA are negotiating covers more than 22,000 longshore workers at 29 U.S. West Coast ports.  The previous agreement expired on July 1, 2022, and talks began on May 10, 2022.

NRF’s Senior Vice President of Government Relations, David French, noted that “the United States ports, particularly those on the West Coast, play a critical role in the vitality of the American economy. Thousands of retailers and other businesses depend on smooth and efficient operations at the ports to deliver goods to consumers every day”.

NRF’s executive pointed out that “as we enter the peak shipping season for the holidays, these additional disruptions will force retailers and other important shipping partners to continue to shift cargo away from the West Coast ports until a new labor contract is established. It is imperative that the parties return to the negotiating table. We urge the administration to mediate to ensure the parties quickly finalize a new contract without additional disruptions”.

It’s worth mentioning that earlier this year, NRF organized a coalition letter to U.S. President Joe Biden that was signed by more than 230 associations, urging the administration to work with the parties to conclude their negotiations. The Federation now reasserts its call on the administration to engage with the parties to help them finalize a new contract.

On Friday, the ILWU said both parties (ILWU and PMA) “continue to negotiate the collective bargaining agreement and are committed to reaching an agreement.”

The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) represents over 70 multi-national ocean carriers and maritime companies in contract negotiations with the ILWU.

Moreover, Mario Cordero, the Executive Director of Port of Long Beach issued a statement in June 2, 2023 mentioning that “all container terminals at the Port of Long Beach remain open. As we monitor terminal activity, we urge the PMA and ILWU to continue negotiating in good faith toward a fair agreement.”