Houston ILA Coordinate with Port Houston to Keep Workers Safe

Houston, TX, April 8, 2020 — Effective today, Wednesday, April 8, 2020, Port Houston is requiring non-contact temperature screenings at Barbours Cut and Bayport Container Terminals’ restricted areas, to further reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“They are starting with Phase One today,” Bill Williams Jr., Vice President at I.L.A. 1351 Clerks & Checkers said this morning. “They have 12 turnstiles at the container terminals at this time, so in this first phase, they are shutting down these entrances/exits until there are only six open at each location by the end of the week. It’s a great way to phase in these new procedures, and a huge step in the right direction to make sure we maintain our livelihoods and the essential work of the Port of Houston.”

Port Houston will consider expanding the temperature screenings to other areas of Port Houston public facilities after successful implementation at the two container terminals, which were chosen based on their environment and the varied users and visitors who enter those shared spaces.

“It’s such an important step being taken at this time,” explains Charles Lewis, President of the I.L.A. 1351 Clerks & Checkers, the largest clerks and checkers Local in the SAGCD-ILA. “Not only does it alert people at the location of a potential issue, but, it may also alert someone who has no idea they may be positive, that they need to go get checked out. It could be a very valuable, preventative measure for them and their family.”

The current procedures at Port Houston include placing a tent at each location and as they monitor temperatures, they are allowing anyone with a temperature below 100 degrees to continue to work. Anyone with temperatures of 100 – 100.3 degrees is being asked to step aside to be checked at least once again, and anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher is being asked to step aside to be checked three more times and complete a questionnaire. If they continue to reflect a temperature of 100.4 or higher, and have completed the questionnaire, then they are asked to leave to be tested for COVID-19 and cannot work.

“This is the workforce people rarely see,” explains Jack Pennington, President of Local 28. “We wouldn’t have food, fuel and other vital supplies in the hands of our community without them. The health and safety of our members is our top priority and providing them and their families the support they need is essential.”

Gabriel Garza, Local 24 President adds, “Not only do we have the highest safety standards in place, but we are in constant communication with port officials. Day in and day out we serve people by being on the front lines at our hometown port. We’ve always done what we need to do to keep this country supplied. We’re going to keep on doing it, and we’re going to do it as safe as possible.”

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 About: The South Atlantic & Gulf Coast District (SAGCD-ILA) represents over 30,000 longshoremen on the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast (Brownsville, Texas to Wilmington, North Carolina). The roots of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) began over 100 years ago during colonial America and the arrival of ships bearing goods from Europe. www.iladistrict.com

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