Ships waiting to be unloaded at the Port of Los Angeles on Feb. 18, 2015. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg
Ships waiting to be unloaded at the Port of Los Angeles on Feb. 18, 2015. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

According to front-page news in the March 1 edition of the Los Angeles Times, “More than 4,400 ships bring nearly $400 billion worth of goods through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach every year, a crucial link in the global supply chain of factories, warehouses, docks, highways and rail lines.”  (By Chris Kirkham and Andrew Khouri.)

For months, The International Longshore and Warehouse Union has been supporting a work slowdown and partial shutdown of 29 West Coast ports . This debacle has not only made national headlines, it has also motivated a presidential intervention, leading to a hopeful resolution over the past few weeks.  A contract deal has been approved. However, it will still take three months to unload and distribute all the cargo that has been sitting at the port, waiting to fill retail shelves in almost every wholesale industry. Not only product, but people’s productivity has been lost. People need to financially survive and emotionally and physically thrive. Most of the people not directly affected by the slow down were not aware that union differences and unresolved disputes that havebeen going on for more than six months.

Container ships waiting to be unloaded at the Port of Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of www.sacbee.com
Container ships waiting to be unloaded at the Port of Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of www.sacbee.com

The employees and families of Isobella & Chloe have been anxious and hopeful. We earned our reputation for reliability and prompt, and even early, delivery of our season-driven apparel, dresses, swimwear, and accessories. Most of our buyers have been understanding, patient, and accommodating regarding the delays in receiving their anticipated inventory. It has been frustrating that, as a small business, there was little we could do other than keep updating our retailers on projected dates that merchandise would be delivered to our warehouse.

Shipping has already improved, and many of our retailers have received shipments. We know that the next few weeks are especially important for your spring quarter. We appreciate and thank you for your continued loyalty and spirit of cooperation.

In the future, we hope that Americans are better informed about the far-reaching consequences that trickle throughout every boundary and class. We are all ultimately dependent on so much that is out of our control. Let’s become stronger. Let’s learn to focus on more than our immediate families, businesses, and needs. Through understanding, communication and universal hope, whether union or non-union, white or blue collar, laborer, manager or consumer, we can work to resolve differences sooner and get on with the work that can make us all stronger. Down the road, it’s looking up.

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