ILA Ends NY-NJ Work Stoppage

ILA Ends NY-NJ Work Stoppage

The two-day work stoppage at the six container terminals in the Port of New York and New Jersey ended early Wednesday afternoon when the Philadelphia ILA local whose picket lines had caused the shutdown of the terminals called off the picketing.

The Philadelphia longshoreman had started picketing the terminals in New York Harbor at 8 a.m. Tuesday 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.

One of the dockworkers on the picket line outside the gates of the APM Terminal in Port Elizabeth, N.J., said Philadelphia ILA Local 12391 had called off the picketing and would start negotiations on Monday, but he did not specify what those negotiations would involve.

Photo gallery: Workers join informational picket lines at Port Newark.

The ILA said in mid-afternoon Wednesday it asked pickets from the Philadelphia local to leave the terminals. “Aware of the concerns of the rank-and-file members and sensitive to the impact of the picketing on the industry, the ILA has convinced the individual pickets to leave the various terminals in the port of New York and New Jersey,” it said in a statement issued by its office in New York.

The ILA said it promised the pickets it would meet immediately with United States Maritime Alliance and New York Shipping Association representatives to address the loss of jobs. It said it anticipated that as soon as the pickets leave, normal operations will resume.

The New York Shipping Association had not received official word in the early afternoon that the work stoppage at the six terminals was over, said Beverly Fedorko, an NYSA spokesperson. The NYSA had gone to a federal court in Newark on Tuesday to seek an injunction against the work stoppage.

U.S. District Judge Dickinson Debevoise ordered New York and New Jersey ILA members to observe a ruling by an arbitrator on Monday and return to work. The New York Shipping Association said its attorneys would be returning to U.S. District Court on Wednesday to seek enforcement of the court’s order.

"ILA workers in the Port of New York and New Jersey are penalizing ocean carriers and marine terminal operators who have absolutely no involvement or relationship whatsoever with the issues that may be occurring in the Port of Philadelphia," said NYSA President Joseph Curto.

"If the union's strategy is to gain support and sympathy, it appears that the opposite result is occurring. What we have occurring is a classic example of "biting the hand that feeds you. This action is causing deep economic harm to many innocent parties," Curto said in a statement Wednesday.

The Philadelphia ILA claimed the move by Del Monte will cost the union 200 jobs. Jim Paylor, a vice president of the national ILA who is president of ILA Local 1566 in Philadelphia, told The Journal of Commerce earlier this month that the ILA planned to attack Del Monte's move "on all fronts."

The pickets by Philadelphia ILA members had shut down work at all six container terminals in New York Harbor starting Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. including 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.

-- Contact Peter T. Leach at pleach@joc.com.