The association endorsed Thursday’s legislative efforts by a bipartisan group of Representatives to the labor dispute between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU).
More than a dozen lawmakers held a news conference to highlight the damage the dispute is causing in their districts, such as staff layoffs and lost export sales, and AAFA President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan agrees that it’s the “number one trade barrier right now.”
“The slowdowns at these ports have resulted in loss in sales for our companies and increased costs for the industry and the economy as a whole,” Duggan said, calling for an immediate end to the dispute. If both sides fail to reach a contract agreement, she wants President Obama to step in.
Twenty-nine ports from Washington to California, including the Los Angeles-Long Beach complex (the busiest in the nation), will be partially shut down this weekend and Monday because shipping companies refuse to pay overtime to striking union workers. Earlier this week, PMA warned that congestion at the ports would soon be so severe that terminals would have to halt all activity. It’s estimated that such a shutdown would cost the U.S. economy nearly $2 billion a day.