"If the ILA and the USMX are not able to negotiate an agreement, any impending strike and subsequent shutdown of major East Coast port would have far-reaching, costly, and disruptive implications for not only the U.S. forest products industry, but for manufacturers and distributers across the supply chain," said American Forest & Paper Association President and CEO Donna Harman.
"On behalf of the more than 900,000 men and women employed by the forest products industry, we urge negotiators to work together to develop a long-term labor agreement to avoid further strain on our already fragile economy."
On Friday, AF&PA joined other organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, and the Retail Industry Leaders Association in signing a letter to ILA President Herold Daggett and USMX Chairman and CEO James Capo urging them to work out an agreement.
The ILA and USMX are engaged in negotiations on a master contract that expired on Sept. 30 but was extended until Dec. 29 covering 15 ports along the East Coast and the Gulf Coast. The forest products industry has a significant Southeastern U.S. presence and is a major exporter to global markets served by the ports at issue. Any disruption to port operations in these areas would negatively impact the approximately $38 million in forest products exported each day.
The American Forest & Paper Association is the national trade association of the forest products industry, representing pulp, paper, packaging and wood products manufacturers, and forest landowners. Our companies make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources that sustain the environment. The forest products industry accounts for approximately 5 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP. Industry companies produce about $190 billion in products annually and employ nearly 900,000 men and women, exceeding employment levels in the automotive, chemicals and plastics industries. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states. Visit AF&PA online at www.afandpa.org.