Dockworkers brought cargo terminals in New York and New Jersey to a halt with a surprise walkout on Friday.
More than a thousand members of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) walked off the job, bringing to a standstill New Jersey’s Port Newark, Maher terminal and APM terminal (both in Elizabeth) and GCT Bayonne (in Jersey City), plus New York’s Staten island terminal. Only Red Hook terminal in Brooklyn seemed to be not affected.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey urged shippers to refrain from sending trucks to the port until the strike was resolved. But trucks already dispatched were forming lines on the approach roads to the port
Management and port operators were taken off guard by the action and expressed puzzlement as to the strikers’ motivations and demands.
But one spokesman for the ILA said that the union’s members were unhappy about hiring practices and at what he called interference by the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbour in the collective bargaining agreement between union and management. The Commission is a body which monitors criminal activity and unfair employment practices on the docks.
A Port Authority spokesperson said picketing would be illegal because no permit had been issued. And a representative of the New York Shipping Association, which represents shippers and terminal operators, called the action illegal.
The New York and New Jersey port system is the busiest on the US east coas