WASHINGTON — A consortium of shipping companies and terminal operators, and a labor group of East and Gulf Coast dockworkers, reached a tentative agreement on a master contract late Friday, averting a strike that could have impacted millions of dollars in apparel, textile and footwear imports.
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service said the U.S. Maritime Alliance (USMX), representing the container carriers and marine terminal operators at 14 ports from Maine to Texas, and the International Longshoremen’s Association, representing 15,000 members, have tentatively agreed to a final contract after 10 months of negotiations.
About 20 percent of all apparel, textile and footwear trade moves through the 14 ports, which handled more than 110 million tons of cargo in 2011, the most recent data available.
“I can report that the tentative agreement reflects the culmination of good faith negotiations in which the parties successfully accommodated strongly held competing positions because of their commitment to problem solving,” said George H. Cohen, director of the FMCS.
The tentative agreement on a master contract is subject to ratification by both sides as well as to agreements being reached in several local union negotiations, Cohen said.
Apparel brand and retail groups, which had lobbied for federal intervention and a quick resolution to the breakdown in talks, welcomed the news of the tentative agreement.
“The retail industry, which supports one in every four U.S. jobs, is pleased to hear that the ILA and USMX have reached a tentative, long-term master contract,” said Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of the National Retail Federation. “If the tentative agreement holds, the new labor contract will bring much-needed certainty and predictability to the supply chain for retailers, manufacturers, farmers and other industries that rely on the ports to move the nation’s commerce and trade.”
Kevin Burke, president and ceo of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, said, “Last night’s news [on Friday] of a tentative agreement to keep America open for business is welcome news.
“This tentative agreement restores the predictability the four million U.S. apparel and footwear industry workers in our industry count on to ensure all Americans have access for affordable and fashionable clothes and shoes,” Burke said. Details of the tentative agreement were not released.
Talks between the dockworkers and shipping companies broke down Dec. 18 over unresolved issues such as container royalties — the payments to union workers based on cargo weight that have been in practice since the Sixties when containerization and automation took hold.
Federal mediators have been involved in the talks since September.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast