Maritime union pushes for promised jobs; leaders call it a ‘terminal takeover’
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The International Longshoreman’s Association union continues to push for the Hugh Leatherman Terminal in North Charleston to be all-union jobs. This is despite pushback from the port and the governor.
The Hugh Leatherman Terminal is the newest one in the Lowcountry. Historically, the ports have offered some of the jobs on-site to state workers and some to union workers. But the ILA union argues that they made an agreement for all new terminals, to be all union.
This Master Contract agreement is between the U.S. Maritime Alliance and the ILA union. It does say the business model could be altered to have work currently performed by state employees changed to be performed by union employees if it’s a more productive way. The contract also says U.S. Maritime Alliance member companies may be prohibited from using a new facility if the work is not done by union workers.
ILA Local 1422 President Charles Brave says this isn’t about taking state jobs but about keeping the promises made in the agreement.
“If a new terminal comes on, the ILA will have the jobs from the ship to the gate - didn’t say anything about the Wando Welch, it didn’t say nothing but North Charleston, it didn’t say anything about the other terminals in the state, but they tried to actually paint the picture that ILA are trying to take the state employees job, that’s not what we try to do,” Brave says.
Gov. Henry McMaster made a court filing about what he calls the “secondary boycott” in April.
His staff says his statements in the filing remain relevant and the governor supports having state jobs.
“I will not allow unions and their unlawful boycotts to hold our State’s resources, jobs, or supply chain hostage as they seek to advance their own self-interests. South Carolinians have earned our prosperity, and we must continue to preserve it and enhance it, not bargain it away in response to labor union boycotts, third-party threats, or coercive pressure campaigns,” McMaster wrote.
The ILA’s push for union jobs at the port is one of the topics they plan to address at a rally for workers’ rights. The rally is planned for July 12th at 11 a.m. at the statehouse.
“The steel workers are going to be there, we’re going to have just about every international union in the state of South Carolina, is going to be attended this rally, along with the fight for 15, along with Starbucks, all of them. And actually, the challenge now is negotiate first, contract wages and benefits.”
The South Carolina Port Authority has not yet responded to a request for comment on the jobs at the Hugh Leatherman Terminal.
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