That agreement ended a slowdown that began as early as last May in ports ranging from San Diego to Tacoma, Wash., as some 20,000 dock workers demanded a new labor contract. The Port of Oakland, one of the most important container ports on the West Coast, was closed entirely for several days in February as negotiations continued.
During the January, shipments were down 29 percent at the Port of Los Angeles and 19 percent at the Port of Long Beach compared with January 2014, according to news reports.
In congratulating Secretary Perez, the ILWU and the PMA for reaching agreement on a contract, the National Retail Federation (NRF) noted that the West Coast port slowdown had a significant negative effect on those who depend on those ports for both shipping and receiving goods.
“The agricultural, manufacturing, retailing and transportation industries have all suffered due to the nine-month-long contract negotiations,” said Matthew Bray, NRF president and CEO. “If we are to truly have modern international trade, supply chain and transportation systems, we must develop a better process for contract negotiations moving forward.”