The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) welcomed the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service announcement of a tentative contract agreement between the International Longshoremen Association (ILA) and United States Maritime Alliance (USMX). This tentative agreement averts the coast-wide labor strike that had been expected to occur when the contract had been set to expire February 6, 2013.
“Last night’s news of a tentative agreement to keep America open for business is welcome news,” said AAFA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “I applaud all parties for their efforts to overcome their differences. This tentative agreement restores the predictability the four million U.S. apparel and footwear industry workers in our industry count on to ensure all Americans have access for affordable and fashionable clothes and shoes.”
With 98 percent of apparel and 99 percent of footwear sold in the United States each year being produced internationally, the United States is home to more than 300 million importers who have come to count on the U.S. apparel and footwear industry's ability to deliver fashionable, affordable, and safe clothes and shoes. The industry’s ability to move product in and out of a U.S. port sustains more than four million U.S. apparel and footwear industry jobs.
The average American purchased seven pairs of shoes and 62 garments last year, contributing to more than $350 billion in U.S. retail sales in 2011. More than 20 percent of imported clothes and shoes enter the United States through an East Coast port.