ILA Efforts to Get Waterfront Coronaviris (COVID-19) Testing Hitting Roadblocks as States Say Federal Government Is Slow To Provide Test or Funding
NORTH BERGEN, NJ. (March 22, 2020). – The leadership of the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO has been working tirelessly throughout the weekend trying to establish Coronavirus (COV-19) testing at waterfront facilities and hiring halls to best protect ILA members. Their appeals to the leadership at Governor’s Offices in many States is met by the same response: The Federal Government is unable to provide us with funding or the Coronavirus tests.
International President Harold J. Daggett and Executive Vice President Dennis A. Daggett have been on numerous calls directly with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy throughout Sunday, March 22, 2020.
ILA longshore workers have been deemed as essential workers and as important as other first responders in meeting the challenges brought on by this Coronaviris pandemic. Even following safety guidelines prescribed by the joint ILA-United States Maritime Alliance Safety Committee, the waterfront workplace is a sensitive work area and ILA members want protections.
“We conveyed to Governor Murphy that ILA members were concerned about the safety of their waterfront workplace,” said ILA President Harold Daggett. “We emphasized that our nation could ill afford our ports shutting down if longshore workers were afraid to go to work. The services ILA members provide – getting cargo unloaded at Port Newark, for example – result in our supermarkets having food on their shelves and critically important medical and pharmaceutical equipment and medical supplies made available.”
The State lawmakers told the ILA they are working to get funding for Coronavirus testing.
Moving forward, ILA members are looking to their leadership for direction and protection, balancing keeping ports operational, but safe.
The ILA has scheduled a 10 a.m. telephonic Contract Board meeting for Monday, March 23rd in the Port of New York and New Jersey and asked the leadership of New York Shipping Association and United States Maritime Alliance to participate.
The ILA and management plan to discuss a number of issues surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, including testing; sanitizing workplaces and procedures if ILA members or employers are infected with the virus.
The ILA leadership is reaching out to both New Jersey’s Senators – Robert Menendez and Corey Booker to press them for Federal help in keeping ILA ports open and safe during this pandemic.
“If our ILA members are bravely working around the clock making sure our nation’s supply chain is not broken, we as ILA leaders will do the same and keep pressing our employers and our lawmakers to protect our ILA workers,” said President Daggett. Photo Credit: CNBC