The US National Retail Federation called on the International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance to seek long-term stability at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports following last week’s strike at the Port of New York and New Jersey.
More that a thousand dock workers staged a strike on Friday and closed traffic at the Port of New York and New Jersey cargo terminals. The walkout lasted several hours and affected overseas shipments at ports in New York City, Elizabeth, Newark and Jersey City. Additionally, the terminals were closed to incoming trucks.
The reasons behind the strike are believed to be stemming from a dispute between the longshoremen and the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, on certain non-contract issues.
“The threat of potential or ongoing labor disruptions will force retailers and other stakeholders to reevaluate supply chain options for their cargo,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.
“Events like last week’s strike can do a great deal of damage to the image of East Coast ports as reliable business partners for the shippers represented by NRF.”
According to Shay, early negotiations on the existing contract should be the path forward so as to work out solutions to the tough issues – including those not currently in the contract – at the bargaining table and not with “short-term illegal strikes.”
“Such disruptions send a very troublesome message to the port’s customers – the cargo owners,” Shay said. “While there may be outstanding non-contract issues, electing to walk off the job in protest even for a short period of time only adds to ongoing congestion issues facing the port and its customers.”