Unionized longshore workers from Atlantic Coast ports protested at the U.S. Marine Barracks in Washington Monday against what they consider the loss of handling military cargo at the Port of Charleston.
About 80 International Longshoremen's Association members picketed, amplifying protests at the Port of Charleston. The ILA contends the Marines are allowing Jacksonville, Fla.-based Portus Stevedoring Co. to move its military cargo operation from Jacksonville to Charleston to bypass the use of ILA workers in Charleston.
“The ILA learned that Portus intends to transport members of the International Union of Operating Engineers and, perhaps even non-union workers, aboard the vessel Lewis and Clark
, and have these non-ILA members work the ship at Joint Base Charleston beginning on Monday,” the ILA and AFL-CIO said in a joint statement.
“For the past several months, International Vice President Kenneth Riley, ILA military consultant General Patrick Kelly and our ILA staff in Washington have been trying to resolve this issue with the International Union of Operating Engineers. We have been in frequent contact with the leadership of the AFL-CIO, the Seafarers International Union and other AFL-CIO affiliates to support our campaign.”
Pontus officials say although the United States used ILA stevedores in Charleston, the Marines have no such contract.
The protesters in Washington plan to join the protesters in Charleston for the remainder of the week, the ILA said. - Eric Johnson