Longshoremen Protest Job Losses at Broadway Terminal

Two hundred longshoremen picketed at Camden, New Jersey's Broadway Terminal Tuesday, to the loss of more than 400,000 labor hours, the equivalent to more than 200 full time jobs.

The loss of work comes after an announcement from Del Monte that they were switching terminals, moving from Broadway to Gloucester Terminals L.L.C., a private family owned terminal.

Del Monte plans to send 75 ships a year, 500,000 tons of cargo, to Gloucester Terminals L.L.C.

Del Monte typically sailed two ships a week to Camden. The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), in an effort to keep Del Monte at Camden, offered to reduce Del Monte’s annual lease from $1.4 million to $1 million, add additional acreage at no cost, and cap their electricity bill at $700,00 (last year it was $1.3 million). Despite their efforts Del Monte is moving forward with the change.

Del Monte will continue to pay $1.4 million to the South Jersey Port Corp. until 2020 when its lease expires, but its agreement with Delaware River Stevedores, which employs Local 1291 members, ends in December.

Gloucester Terminals, who boasts the largest refrigerated capacity of any terminal in the United States, released a statement saying that Del Monte had outgrown the Camden terminal, and this was the primary reason for the switch. Camden has a refrigerated cargo capacity of less than 10,000 pallets, while Gloucester can accommodate more than 40,000.

Union workers at Camden unloaded the Del Monte ship until 5 p.m. on Monday, but refused to continue unloading after 5 p.m. Wednesday morning Del Monte moved its ship to Gloucester where workers began immediately unloading it. Gloucester also noted in their statement that $10 million worth of perishable cargo was risked when workers at Camden stopped unloading.

Earlier this month, during Labor Day weekend, union workers dumped cases of Del Monte pineapples into the Delaware River in protest.

ILA claims that Gloucester workers are paid below industry standards a $12-$17/hr. However, in statement Wednesday, Gloucester claimed to be fully unionized and represented by Dockworkers Union Local No. 1, Teamsters Local 929, and the International Association of Machinists Local 447. Gloucester also claims to have more union workers than Camden terminal and says Dockworkers Union Local No. 1 members make around $20/hr and receive benefits.

Photo courtesy of Philly.com
Statements from Gloucester Terminals L.L.C. & ILA