Tentative Agreement Reached in Cali Ports Labor Dispute

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) welcomed news of a tentative agreement for a new six-year contract between the Office Clerical Union and the Harbor Employers Association that would settle the labor dispute and begin the process of resuming operations at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. AAFA also called for a quick resolution to similar port labor negotiations being conducted along the East Coast for contracts set to expire Dec. 29, 2012.

"Last night's announcement of a resolution which will bring the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach back online is welcome news for the U.S. apparel and footwear industry," said AAFA president and CEO Kevin M. Burke. "We hope the ports overcome delays and can return to normal operations before we begin to any experience long-term consequences of the strike."

"More than four million U.S. apparel and footwear industry workers count on our ability to move product in and out of the county as quickly and efficiently as possible," said Burke. "Any port work stoppage impedes four million U.S. workers from being competitive in the global market. We should now focus our attention on ensuring the stakeholders on the East Coast are negotiating in earnest to prevent a strike from ever happening along the East Coast. Time is running out for a deal, and our economy cannot handle another major work stoppage at some of America's busiest ports."

AAFA was one of many organizational and industrial voices seeking swift resolution to the work stoppage at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In addition to its own advocacy efforts, AAFA was a signatory to several letters representing a broad and diverse group of stakeholders. 20 U.S. apparel and footwear industry CEOs also submitted a letter President Barack Obama urging the president to invoke federal authority to restore normal port operations until a deal could be reach. AAFA stands ready to do the same for East Coast port labor negotiations should the talks show no sign of conclusion.
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