ILA seeks mediator to break stalemate in negotiations following strike vote

ILA seeks mediator to break stalemate in negotiations following strike vote

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Officials at Charleston's International Longshoremen's Association, or ILA, say they are seeking a mediator to break a stalemate between the ILA and a contractor following a recent vote to authorize a strike at the Port of Charleston.

Charleston ILA President Kenneth Riley said the ILA has been trying to negotiate with the South Carolina Stevedore Association for a new labor contract.

According to Riley, negotiations have stalled, and the ILA's workforce has rejected the employers "Best and Final Offer."

Riley said a strike vote was then taken which was voted up unanimously by the membership. No strike has occurred yet, and the terminal is still in use.

Riley states in a press release that it is not unusual for a union to authorize a strike at this point in the process. Riley cited a case in 2006 when the parties involved continued to talk and the dispute was settled without any disruptions to port work.

In a statement issued Friday, Riley also said:

The ILA remains optimistic and is hoping for similar outcome this time around. With that in mind, the ILA has invited the Feral Mediation and Conciliation Services to assist to break the stalemate. To the detriment of all, many harmful rumors have been released to the media from questionable sources. Our valued customers who depend on the Port of Charleston have read these reports and have expressed concern. So as an ILA International Vice President representing the Port of Charleston, I am requesting that there be responsible reporting on this issue. The parties involved in this dispute are governing themselves in a very responsible manner and so should everyone else. The economy of our State depends on what we do, and we in the ILA do not take that for granted.

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