ILA members call for shutdown of ports along Atlantic, Gulf Coasts

The International Longshoremen’s Association said it plans to march in Washington, targeting the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor and the South Carolina Ports Authority.

The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) said it is calling for a shutdown of ports along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and a march on Washington next week.
   The union, whose members work at marine terminals from Texas to Maine, said the protest “is expected to bring much of America’s port economy to a halt.”
   The ILA said it is protesting “job loss and the resulting negative impacts on America’s economy,” but is using the event to protest two issues:
     • Its long-standing desire to eliminate the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor;
     • And the use of state employees at terminals operated by the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA).
   The ILA has not yet announced what day and exactly where the march will be held, but said it will “highlight hiring practices in some of the nation’s ports that purposely reduce the numbers of dockworkers, causing immeasurable damage to the nation’s economy.”
   The union said, “Specifically, interference by the South Carolina Port Authority has reduced the number of dockworkers, injuring not only the port itself, but also the local and national economy.”
   Over 500 state workers are employed at SCPA terminals. They operate ship to shore cranes, and container handling equipment in the container yards at the port. ILA members shuttle containers between the container yard and cranes and man the gates truckers use to move containers in and out of the terminals.
   The ILA also complains that the Waterfront Commission, an agency created in the 1950s to fight corruption and crime on New York and New Jersey docks and regulate the supply of labor is “damaging the regional economy of the Port of New York and New Jersey” by “causing hundreds of jobs at the port to remained unfilled.”
   “We will wake up the decision makers and force them to focus on our ports,” said Kenneth Riley, vice president and president of ILA Local 1422 in Charleston. “We are protesting damage to the nation’s economy that is caused by the kind of interference that President Trump promised to stop.”
   When contacted by American Shipper, neither the Waterfront Commission or the SCPA were willing to comment on the ILA announcement.