FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Adrienne Appell
Toy Industry Association
Toy Industry Congratulates ILWU and PMA Ratification of Five-Year West Coast Labor Contract
New York, NY | May 26, 2015 – The Toy Industry Association (TIA), the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and delivering toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages, congratulates the membership of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) for voting last week to ratify a five-year labor agreement, expiring in July 2019. The ratification of the contract provides much-needed stability for toy companies shipping through the West Coast ports.
“We are pleased that ILWU and PMA have come to an agreement, signaling to toy companies that the West Coast ports will be more stable over the next five years,” said Ed Desmond, TIA executive vice president of external affairs. “This past year’s congestion crisis placed a significant financial burden on toy companies – 98% of which are small businesses. Going forward, we are calling on PMA and ILWU to begin their negotiations early, so that an expired labor contract will not impact toy companies who rely on the West Coast ports to get their products on store shelves.”
During the 2014 peak shipping season, shippers faced significant congestion at the West Coast ports due to a variety of factors, including port inefficiencies, larger ships, and extended ILWU/PMA labor negotiations over a contract that expired last July. The drawn out negotiations resulted in slowdowns and partial shutdowns contributing to the congestion. ILWU and PMA leadership agreed on a contract in February after Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez joined the negotiations. The ratification by ILWU and PMA membership finalizes the agreement for dockworkers at the 29 west coast ports.
Last week, just prior to the final ratification of the labor contract, TIA held a seminar at the port of Long Beach featuring expert speakers from the transportation industry; the topic of ILWU/PMA labor negotiations were featured prominently in the discussions. During the seminar, Bobby Olvera, president of the ILWU local chapter at Los Angeles and Long Beach and Chad Lindsay, PMA vice president of labor relations, agreed that the new contract would enable both sides to address key issues as they arise, instead of dealing with them all at once when the contract is being renegotiated. This is an important step toward preventing prolonged negotiations from recurring in the future.
TIA would like to thank the ILWU and PMA membership and leadership for approving this contract, as well as Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Los Angeles Port Director Gene Seroka and Long Beach Port Director Jon Slangerup for their involvement throughout the negotiations.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the ports and political leadership to improve port efficiency,” added Desmond. “Peak shipping season is critical for the toy industry, and over 50% of toy imports come in through Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. As international trade continues to grow, we need to work together to identify solutions to congestion issues at the ports.”
About the Toy Industry Association (TIA)
TIA is the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and delivering toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages, representing more than 750 companies who account for approximately 90% of domestic toy sales. Toy safety is the number one priority for the toy industry. TIA has a long history of leadership in toy safety, having helped develop the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 30 years ago. TIA continues to work with government, consumers and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe and fun play. For more information, please visit www.toyassociation.org, www.toyinfo.org or www.thegeniusofplay.org.