Updated 3:50 p.m. ET 9/28/10
Picket lines by longshoremen from Philadelphia caused work stoppages at all six container terminals in the Port of New York and New Jersey on Tuesday, when terminal workers who are members of the International Longshoremen's Association refused to cross the Philadelphia ILA picket lines despite a finding by an arbitrator against the pickets that was issued on Monday.
The Philadelphia longshoreman were picketing the terminals to protest the pending move by Del Monte Fresh Produce of 75 ship calls a year from an ILA terminal in Camden, N.J. to a non-ILA facility in Gloucester, N.J. that is owned by the Holt family. The ILA claims the move by Del Monte will cost the union 200 jobs.
The Philadelphia ILA members shut down work at the New York Container Terminal on Staten Island, APM Terminals and Maher Terminal in Port Elizabeth, N.J., the Port Newark Container Terminal, Global Marine Terminal in Bayonne, N.J., and the Red Hook Container Terminal in Brooklyn. The only terminal that remained open was the passenger cruise terminal.
The work stoppages prevented cargo from moving in and out of the six terminals, where 12 ships were being loaded or unloaded. ILA members continued to work on the ships at the terminals but did not allow the cargo to move in or out of the gates.
The New York Shipping Association went to court Tuesday afternoon to seek an injunction against the work stoppages. "We're in court now," said Beverly Fedorko, a spokesperson for the NYSA on Tuesday afternoon.
The Philadelphia ILA also picketed the terminal in Camden, stopping work on unloading a ship with Del Monte produce.
Best Transportation, a port trucking firm in New Jersey told its customers that the walkout started in Port Elizabeth and Port Newark and quickly spread to Jersey City and Staten Island.
It said by mid -morning "all the ocean terminals and related facilities (empty yards, chassis depots etc.) were closed." It said ILA terminals in Philadelphia were also closed and that terminals in Baltimore were open but "this may change."
Joseph C. Curto, president of the New York Shipping Association, issued the following statement: "There is currently a work stoppage taking place in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
"Longshore workers are refusing to cross picket lines established by longshore workers from Philadelphia and perhaps other outside locations who are reportedly protesting certain actions taken by an employer in Philadelphia.
"These actions resulted in work which was performed by ILA members in Philadelphia to be switched to a facility in South Jersey manned by non-ILA workers.
"We feel strongly that these actions by the ILA, in refusing to cross a non-bona-fide line, are a violation of the no-strike clause of our current collective bargaining agreement.
"We further believe these actions are completely irresponsible, and accordingly we will explore all possible remedies to end this illegal action."
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