The International Longshoremen’s Association is still smarting over the 200 jobs it lost in Philadelphia last year when Fresh Del Monte shifted its fruit imports to a terminal that employs non-ILA labor.
At the union’s quadrennial convention this week in Hollywood, Fla., the meeting hall was adorned with signs urging ILA members to boycott Del Monte fruit.
ILA President Richard Hughes Jr. promised delegates that at convention lunches and dinners, “none of the pineapples you eat will be from Del Monte. We’re going to boycott their products today, tomorrow and in the future.”
Hughes said the Philadelphia controversy comes up at every meeting of the union’s six-member executive board.
Carriers in the New York Shipping Association sued the ILA and several locals for $6 million in damages from a two-day work stoppage last September in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
The lawsuit contends the work stoppage, which resulted from New York-New Jersey dockworkers’ refusal to cross picket lines posted by Philadelphia ILA members protesting Del Monte’s move, was an illegal strike.
Hughes said the ILA still believes “an ultimate victory will come.”
The union has not burned all bridges with Fresh Del Monte. The ILA still hopes to regain the Philadelphia cargo, and union members continue to handle the fruit importer’s ships at Galveston, Texas, and Port Manatee, Fla.