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May 12, 2014 11:30 AM, EDT
Groups Urge West Coast Ports, ILWU to Reach Labor Agreement
Ken James/Bloomberg News

A coalition of shippers and transportation groups have sent a letter to the operators of West Coast ports and the union that represents dockworkers urging the sides to come to a labor agreement by time the current six-year contract expires June 30.

The May 9 letter was sent to the heads of the Pacific Maritime Association and International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

“We urge you to stay at the negotiating table until a deal is reached even if negotiations extend beyond the current contract expiration,” the letter said.

The groups that sent the letter include the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, American Trucking Associations and the California Trucking Association.

“Failure to reach an agreement will have serious economywide impacts,” the letter said. “The potential for disruptions in the flow of commerce at West Coast ports is creating uncertainty in a fragile economic climate and forcing many businesses to develop contingency plans that come at a significant cost to jobs and our economic competitiveness.”