NY-NJ Port Struggles to Clear Strike Backlog
Container terminals and port trucking companies in the Port of New York and New Jersey were still struggling Thursday in foul weather to clear out the backlog of containers that was piled up at the piers after a two-day work stoppage by dockworkers.
Port truck drivers will have to work and terminals stay open on Saturday to get caught up on the 10,000-11,000 truck moves that could not be done during the shutdown, which started Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. and ended Wednesday afternoon after local chapters of the International Longshoremen's Association faced the possibility of being hit with steep fines for failing to comply with a restraining order issued by a federal district judge in Newark on Tuesday.
"This was an illegal strike," said Jeff Bader, president of Golden Carriers, a New Jersey port drayage company, and of the Bi-State Motor Carriers Association. "There was no reason to affect the Port of New York and New Jersey."
JOC Video: ILA Worker Discusses Dock Work Stoppage
Bader said his drivers had gone home on Tuesday and Wednesday because they couldn't work, losing two days of pay. "Now we're paying for it because we have four- to five- hour turn times today. There was no reason for it when the economy's such a fragile thing." He said 240,000 people working in the port were affected by the strike.
The work stoppage was conducted with no orders to do so from either the international union or its locals, ILA spokesman Jim McNamara said. The members are supporting each other, he said.
The work stoppage was caused by picket lines set up Tuesday morning by members of ILA locals from Philadelphia, who were protesting the pending moved 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.
The Philadelphia ILA claimed the move by Del Monte will cost the union 200 jobs.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had issued permits to the Philadelphia dockworkers to picket the terminals in New York, but they were joined by local New York-New Jersey ILA members, who did not have permits, according to Jim Devine, president and CEO of the New York Container Terminal on Staten Island.