The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) has announced it is calling for a shutdown of ports along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and will hold a march in Washington. The union is using the event to highlight two issues, the desire to eliminate the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor and the ILA would like more union members to receive work at state-run ports in the Carolinas and in Georgia.
The Waterfront Commission is an agency that was created to fight corruption on New York and New Jersey docks and is also responsible for regulating the supply of labor. The ILA is protesting the Waterfront Commission because they feel the agency is damaging the regional economy by leaving jobs unfilled.
The ILA is also protesting the use of state employees at terminals operated by the state. For example over 500 state workers are employed by the South Carolina Port Authority. In 2013, the ILA negotiated contract language that encourages state-run ports to hire ILA dockworkers for jobs such as crane operators but the ILA feels these ports have ignored this request.
The ILA plans to stop work for one day, rent buses and head to Washington to make a statement about government interference in the industry. The date and details of the protest have not been announced. The vice president of the ILA commented “We will wake up the decision makers and force them to focus on our ports”.