United Arab Shipping Co. plans to move its U.S. headquarters and 80-plus jobs from New Jersey to the South Atlantic region by the end of this year but said the planned move is not connected with an International Longshoremen’s Association organizing drive.
“We had been discussing this with the board for some time. It’s just coincidental,” said Anil Vitarana, president of United Arab Agencies, UASC’s North American general agent in Cranford, N.J.
Four UASC port captains and container equipment coordinators voted 3-1 last month for ILA representation. ILA Local 1964 filed a National Labor Relations Board complaint on Feb. 1 accusing the company of violating labor law by unilaterally changing employment terms and conditions of the newly unionized employees.
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The four port captains and container equipment coordinators are not among the headquarters staff, all non-union, that UASC plans to transfer.
In a note to employees, Vitarana said cities being considered for relocation are Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and Richmond, Va. He told The Journal of Commerce the company has outgrown its current headquarters and believes a move south will help UASC further develop its services in the region.
He noted that most of UASC’s customer service activity already is handled at locations outside New Jersey, where the company said it plans to keep a smaller office to handle sales and terminal operations.
UASC is the latest in a series of container lines to shift U.S. headquarters away from New York-New Jersey during the last two decades. Several other companies’ moves were influenced by ILA organizing efforts. In the last several years the union has organized the office staff at Evergreen’s New Jersey headquarters along with small groups of port captains, who plan vessel stowage, at Evergreen, Cosco, Yangming and UASC.
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