AWB Statement on West Coast Port Labor Agreement
OLYMPIA — Association of Washington Business President Kris Johnson issued the following statement on the contract agreement between the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU):
"This is welcome news for Washington employers, particularly those in our agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Washington is one of the most trade-dependent states in the country, with more than 40 percent of jobs tied to trade, and the slowdown in port activity was impacting businesses of all types and sizes. The economic consequences of a full shutdown would have been devastating.
"AWB, along with many other voices, had been calling for federal intervention in the labor dispute for months. We are pleased that last week the administration dispatched U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez to the West Coast to meet with the parties.
"While we welcome the news of a new five-year agreement, we are mindful that it will take some time for port operations to resume to normal, and also that some effects of the months-long slowdown may be permanent. Some businesses that were forced to find alternate means of importing or exporting material may not resume their previous shipping patterns.
"As damaging as this slowdown has been, however, we know that Washington employers are resilient and our products are second to none. We will bounce back and worldwide demand for our goods and products will return.”
In a recent survey of AWB members, more than half of the nearly 500 respondents said the slowdown had impacted their business or business operations, and more than 30 percent said they experienced work stoppages, a reduction of workforce, loss of customers or all above as a result. Nearly 15 percent said their business lost customers due to the port slowdowns.
About the Association of Washington Business
Formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes more than 8,300 members representing 700,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing, Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser, 90 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100 people. More than half of AWB’s members employ fewer than 10. For more about AWB, visit www.awb.org.