Retailers criticize dockworker unions for rejecting port labor deal

"The shutdown during the holiday shopping season was more than just a fight between labor and management — it threatened to impact consumers’ shopping plans at the most crucial time of the year. We can’t afford to see another shutdown," Gold continued. "As labor and management work to resolve this situation, uninterrupted operation of the ports should be their top priority. Too many jobs across the country depend on these ports to let any interference with operations be considered an acceptable way of doing business.”

The prior shutdown referenced by Gold occurred when talks between the ILWU and the harbor managers broke down in December, resulting in a weeklong strike port officials say had closed 10 of 14 terminals in the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.

The holiday shutdown led to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) getting involved in the negotiations.

The FMCS recently helped broker a deal in a similar labor dispute at East and Gulf Coast ports, preventing a work stoppage at 14 ports that retail groups like the NRF said would have crippled the U.S. economy.

The ILWU has not yet publicly commented on the votes against the agreement.