AHPA, NPA Co-sign Letter to President Biden Regarding West Coast Port Labor Agreement

Groups across industries are asking the Biden administration to work with ILWU and PMA to reach a new agreement without disruption to port operations that could further impact supply chain issues.

labor negotiations and supply chain issues

Silver Spring, MD—The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) shared the news that AHPA and the Natural Products Association (NPA) are among the 90+ organizations  that co-signed a letter sent to President Jospeh Biden on July 1. At issue: The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) are currently engaged in West Coast port labor negotiations. On July 1, the previous labor agreement for workers at key ports (which include Los Angeles and Long Beach) expired.

The co-signers of the letter include organizations across industries that are dependent on cargo moving through the ports. They asked the administration to work with ILWU and PMA to reach a new agreement without disruption to port operations.

Supply Chain Issues a Concern

As AHPA pointed out, supply chains are already strained due to COVID-19 and rising inflation. AHPA noted that President Biden met with the negotiating parties in early June. ILWU and PMA released a joint statement on June 14 indicating that both are committed to reaching a deal. Neither party was planning to strike, and the statement suggested that cargo operations would continue beyond the current contract’s expiration.

Now that the contract has expired, industries relying on the ports are seeking more assurance. In the letter sent to President Biden, the co-signers noted that an immediate extension of the current contract is crucial. They wrote: Even with the recent joint statement, supply chain stakeholders remain concerned about the potential for disruption, especially without a contract or an extension in place. Unfortunately, this concern stems from a long history of disruptions during previous negotiations.

We know the administration understands the economic significance of these negotiations. As such, we encourage the administration to provide any and all support to the parties to reach a final conclusion of their negotiations.

They asked that the administration work to ensure that ILWU and PMA:
  • Extend the current contract until a final contract is reached;
  • Commit to remain at the negotiating table and negotiate in good faith; and
  • Agree to not engage in any kind of activity that leads to further disruption at the ports.

AHPA, NPA Stress Importance of Collaboration

“I greatly appreciate the leadership of the National Retail Federation for initiating the submission of this joint letter,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin, in an update to the industry. “AHPA’s inclusion in this important communication furthers our long-standing commitment to cooperation, collaboration, and consensus with diverse organizations that work together to serve the needs and interests of our membership.”

NPA CEO and President Dan Fabricant, Ph.D., also called for cooperation. “Sourcing materials over the last two years has been nothing short of chaotic. The supply and labor shortages have only added fuel to the economic fire Americans are feeling every day. It has never been more critical for trade organizations to work together to ensure we prevent further supply chain disruptions. NPA looks forward to working with AHPA and others to find a solution to this industry-wide crisis.”

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