Members of the International Longshoremen’s Association on Friday slowed the movement of drayage trucks through the container yard at the Wando Welch Terminal in Charleston, S.C., in an apparent protest against terminal automation.
Source: Nataliya Hora / Shutterstock
An ILA slowdown on Friday reportedly brought operations to a standstill at the Wando Welch Terminal at the Port of Charleston
A slowdown by members of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) on Friday brought operations to a standstill at the largest container terminal at the Port of Charleston in South Carolina, according to a report from Charleston’s Post and Courier.
ILA workers reportedly slowed the movement of drayage trucks through the container yard at the Wando Welch Terminal, forcing drivers to stop for visual chassis inspections instead of going through a new video inspection system in an apparent protest against terminal automation. The South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) in June 2016 went live with an automated gate system at the terminal that was designed to help speed trucks through the port.
Friday’s slowdown came just a day before SPA was scheduled to begin testing the same technology at the nearby North Charleston Terminal.
The ILA has voiced concerns that the new automated gate system will cost union jobs, but SPA has been steadfast in it’s stance that no union positions will be eliminated by the new technology as workers will still be required to run the system.
The manual visual inspections by the ILA on Friday caused significant congestion within the terminal, with one trucker saying he had moved “just 50 yards in a half hour’s time,” the Post and Courier said.
“We’re working through issues with union mechanics,” SCPA Senior Vice President of Operations and Terminals Barbara Melvin told the newspaper. Melvin said Friday ILA “leadership has been non-responsive thus far,” and noted the port authority is doing all it can to get drivers back on the road as soon as possible.
Operations at the Wando Welch Terminal returned to normal over the weekend, according to reports.