Union members protest at Naval Weapons Station

ILA protesters at Naval Weapons Station
Protesters line up near the Naval Weapons Station.
Protesters line up near the Naval Weapons Station.

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Union members from ports up and down the east coast are making their voices heard in North Charleston. Hundreds of members of the International Longshormen's Association are protesting over jobs they say should be theirs.

"Union united, we'll never be divided," ILA members chanted.

They protested outside the Naval Weapons Station on Remount Road.

"We're actually protesting today for South Carolina jobs," Charleston ILA President Kenneth Riley said.

The US Marine Corps contracted a Jacksonville, FL based company that brought both union and non-union workers to unload ammunition at the military base.

It's a job lasting ten days that local ILA members say they wanted.

"We welcome the work that the Marines provide for the base here, but we believe South Carolinians should be the ones working those jobs," Riley said.

The ILA Union says because out-of-state workers are doing this work, they are concerned they may lose more work in the future.

"From what we're being told the pay rates for workers that are in there does not match what we have here," Riley said.

Union workers also stood out here at the Redbank Road entrance of the Naval Weapons Station.

ILA members came from several states for the protest. They say one day they could be the ones to lose out on work.

"It will be detrimental to any area. Right now all of us have come together pretty much to show solidarity," Brunswick, GA ILA President Richard Nixon said.

"They're taking out of our family's food off our tables. That's why we're here supporting this event. Today it's here, next year it could be Brunswick," Brunswick, GA ILA Vice President Kenny Tobias Thorpe said.

The protesters were out from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Monday.

Live 5 News contacted the US Marine Corps, but has not gotten a response.

The union members also wanted their voices heard in Washington, DC and they spent the day rallying outside the US Marine barracks.

They estimate more than 100 members took the road trip to DC, and there were about 300 members protesting at the Naval Weapons Station.

Copyright 2012 WCSC.  All rights reserved.