The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) has filed a $200 million suit against Hapag-Lloyd and the United States Maritime Alliance (USMX) for alleged breaches of contract at the Port of Charleston.
The union alleges that Hapag-Lloyd and the USMX deployed non-ILA affiliated workers to unload the ‘Yorktown Express’, which on the 9 April became the first vessel to call at the newly-built Hugh K. Leatherman terminal.
According to the ILA, this in breach of the master contract it has with USMX, which allows its members exclusive rights to work at the Port of Charleston.
“The Leatherman Terminal has been under construction for years,” the ILA’s court filing reads, “and at various times during the past twenty-four months, the ILA has reached out to USMX for assurances that the terminal would be one where all container and ro/ro work that has been historically performed by the ILA would be performed by the Master Contract bargaining unit consistent with the work jurisdiction provisions of the Master Contract.
“USMX failed and refused to give the requested assurances to the ILA. On the contrary, the information that the ILA received was that the Leatherman Terminal would have non-bargaining unit workers employed in various positions unloading containers from ships and handling containers in the marine terminal, instead of longshore workers represented by the ILA who are covered by the Master Contract.”
The Hugh K. Leatherman terminal opened earlier in April 2021 and in doing so became the first new container terminal to launch operations since 2009. Hapag-Lloyd did comment when contacted by PTI.