Union wins long-running Charleston workforce dispute

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Only dockworkers with the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) will be allowed to operate cranes at the Port of Charleston’s Hugh K. Leatherman terminal following a new landmark labour ruling.

Reported by the Associated Press, the National Labor Relations Board ruled against the Port of Charleston in South Carolina, meaning only union members will be allowed to use heavy-lifting equipment at the port terminal, which opened last year.

The order, made on 16 December, ends the current hybrid model of union and non-union members working together at the terminal.

The ILA has argued that a contract with the United States Maritime Alliance stipulates that only members of the union can operate cranes at the terminals. SC Ports authority team members had been carrying out the work in the hybrid model.

In July earlier this year, a Commissioner for the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) called on President Biden to intervene in the ongoing labour dispute between SC Ports Authority with the ILA at the terminal.

FMC Commissioner Louis E. Sola wrote he was “shocked” the terminal was being underutilised due to the dispute.

The President of the ILA then wrote to President Biden slamming him for the comments. President Harold J. Daggett sharply criticised Sola for his “disparaging comments about the ILA” in a letter the commissioner wrote to Biden on 23 June.

The Hugh K. Leatherman terminal is expected to handle 2.4 million TEU year-on-year.

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