WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation and Retail Industry Leaders Association are calling on President Obama to help resolve a labor strike at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach which could impact last-minute holiday shipments for retailers, as well as U.S. exports.
“A prolonged strike at the nation’s largest ports would have a devastating impact on the U.S. economy,” said Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of the NRF, in a letter sent to Obama on Thursday. “We call upon you to use all means necessary to get the two sides back to the negotiating table.”
In a letter also sent Thursday, RILA president Sandy Kennedy stated, “Without a speedy resolution, the harm caused by the shutdown will be widespread, affecting consumers, retailers and the economy at large.”
Warning Obama of the “enormous risk” posed by a shutdown, she asked that “the full weight of the White House” be used to find a resolution.
The Los Angeles-Long Beach ports are the nation’s busiest and handle the largest volume of apparel, textiles and footwear — $40.3 billion in 2011, accounting for 31 percent of the sector’s imports, according to U.S. Customs & Border Protection.
Obama has several options at his disposal. He can urge the two sides to come back to the negotiating table, invite a federal mediation service in, call both parties to the White House to work out a deal or choose the “nuclear option” by invoking the Taft-Hartley Act, said Jonathan Gold, vice president, supply chain and customs policy at the NRF. The law essentially authorizes a federal injunction when a strike threatens national health or safety, and essentially mandates that employees go back to work while negotiators work with a federal mediator to reach a deal.
Shay said the strike raises the specter of the 2002 West Coast port lockout, which lasted 10 days, caused significant supply-chain disruptions and cost the economy an estimated $1 billion a day. It took the ports six months to recover from the backlog.
“An extended strike [in Los Angeles and Long Beach] this time could have a greater impact considering the fragile state of the U.S. economy,” Shay said in the letter. “The two sides must remain at the negotiating table until a deal is reached.”
The strike began on Tuesday after 67 workers from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63’s Office Clerical Unit walked out of negotiations and brought all activity to a standstill at the APM Terminal at the Port of Los Angeles. The rest of the 800-member clerical unit walked out on Wednesday, despite an order from a local arbitrator to return to work after the picket lines were declared invalid.
The ILWU’s 63-OCU division has been in negotiations with the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Employers Association since June of 2010, when its last contract expired. The OCU claims shipping agencies and terminal operators, represented by the Harbor Employers Association, are trying to outsource their jobs to nonunion workers, a charge the Harbor Employers Association denies.
John Fageaux, president of 63-OCU, said that the harbor community has lost 51 percent of its permanent positions over the past five years, and that employers have announced plans to eliminate another 76 jobs in the future.
Employers argue they have not sent one job overseas and have offered an absolute guarantee that no OCU workers will be laid off. They also argue they have provided a guarantee of full-time pay for 52 weeks per year, regardless of whether there is work; grievance procedures that protect against diversion of OCU work with monetary penalties assessed if a nonunion worker performs the work, and access to the OCU computer databases to monitor the work.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye