The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) voted to approve a five-year labor contract with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA).
There is a collective sigh of relief in the footwear and apparel industry after a drawn-out and contentious dispute between both parties led to a slowdown at the ports and eventual shut downs in February.
According to the American Apparel & Footwear Association, more than half of the clothes and shoes sold in the U.S. come through the West Coast ports—so the slowdown and subsequent delays resulted in substantial profit margin hits for much of the industry.
On February 20, the dockworkers union and their employers reached the tentative five-year agreement that was ratified this week.
Following the announcement, today the AAFA released a statement from its president and CEO Juanita Duggan.
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“We are glad to see that a port labor contract is ratified and now in place on the West Coast. The labor dispute that began last September led to delays, slow-downs, and brought the 29 ports along the West Coast to a near-halt. For the apparel and footwear industry, the port disruption was our number one trade barrier, and something we very strongly feel cannot happen again,” Duggan said in the release.