Exactly one week ago, we declared war on Christmas. And it looks like the fight has already spread to America's ports!
You see, the Pacific Maritime Association (the folks who own the cargo ships that cart your consumer goods from China) and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (the folks who unload the cargo ships) have been bogged down in contract negotiations for months. And according to Women's Wear Daily, with shipments for the holiday season stacking up, things are getting tense:
The dispute came to a head this week, when PMA accused the ILWU of slowdowns at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma that then allegedly spread to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach on Thursday.
At Long Beach, the second busiest port in the nation, authorities said they haven't seen any evidence to confirm a slowdown, although they noted some cargo has been delayed for two weeks or longer due to a shortage of workers and a high volume of shipments during the peak holiday shipping season.
"There is much more cargo stacked up all over the port — more than usual — and it takes a lot of labor to move it," said Art Wong, a spokesman for the Port of Long Beach.
Even if negotiators don't totally shit the bed, the works are already pretty gummed up. Which is eating into those sweet, sweet holiday profits. The president of the U.S. Fashion Industry Association told WWD that members are already coughing up more money for air shipments, for instance—and that's without even daring to broach the unspeakable possibility somebody might fail those all-important delivery guarantees.
And so, in an act of preemptive shit-flipping, several trade groups banded together with the National Retail Federation and sent a downright frantic letter to Obama, pleading for his involvement to make double triple sure things don't grind to a halt—NOT that there's any real indication any such thing is gonna happen: "The sudden change in tone is alarming and suggests that a full shutdown of every West Coast port may be imminent. The impact this would have on jobs, downstream consumers and the business operations of exporters, importers, retailers, transportation providers, manufacturers and other stakeholders would be catastrophic."
But the retail business is just an endless rolling series of what-if panic attacks, so it's hard to see this escalating into a real DefCon1 my-baby-can't-get-her-precious-Elsa-doll crisis. Hell, the spokesperson for the Port of Los Angeles told the OC Register said most Christmas merch has probably already cleared the port. No matter how tempting you might find hedging your bets with a little early shopping, DO NOT YIELD. The War on Christmas won't win itself.
Image via AP.