Teamsters to picket Maersk Inc. headquarters
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters said it will picket Maersk Inc. headquarters in Madison, N.J. today in a dispute over a transfer of jobs from the U.S. to Central America.
“Workers are angry that the largest, most profitable steamship company in the world would choose to repay the loyalty of its workers by abandoning the community just weeks after receiving a large tax break from the government,” the Teamsters said in a statement Wednesday.
“This is a slap in the face,” said Jim Hoffa, president of the Teamsters. “The ink has barely dried on our country’s largest-ever corporate tax giveaway and Maersk is deciding whether to move their regional headquarters to Panama, Mexico or Costa Rica.”
The tax break referred to by the union is the introduction of a tonnage tax regime for U.S.-flag ships under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 (HR 4520).
Maersk said it will transfer a regional office from New Jersey to Panama, but denied it amounted to a major outsourcing of its U.S. operations. “Recently the North American Area has been reorganized and the Caribbean, Latin American region of the business was separated from the North American Region and structured as a separate operating region,” said Russell Bruner, head of Maersk Inc. “As a natural consequence of this reorganization, the headquarters of this new region (for the Caribbean and Latin America) will be relocated from the United States to Panama.”
The Teamsters has already clashed with the big Danish shipping group over its treatment of independent truck drivers in the United States. In October, officials of A.P. Moller-Maersk met Teamsters union officials and independent truck drivers to discuss allegations of harassment, intimidation and others complaints.