Dockworkers from around the world will be joining the International Longshoremen’s Association this Wednesday, September 20th, hosting rallies at waterfront ports and terminals at countless global locations to draw attention to the orchestrated attack on the ILA’s core work jurisdiction by Ørsted US, a developer of wind farms for the production of electricity.
The ILA, and its affiliated Local 1411, in New London, Connecticut, are spearheading this Global Day of Action against Ørsted US to fight to retain ILA jobs. On Wednesday, world-wide Dockworker Unions will be joining them in their fight with thousands of demonstrations and rallies organized by the International Dockworkers Council (IDC) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), making this a powerful international rally in support of the ILA in its conflict with Ørsted US.
ILA Local 1411 members have serviced the Port of New London, for almost a century. Their Connecticut State Pier was closed down approximately years ago, to retrofit the waterfront facility to handle offshore wind components.
When the pier reopened, the longshore workers discovered that their traditional work jurisdiction of loading and unloading vessels and barges had been assigned to building trades unions. Ørsted US claimed that the ILA had no members trained to operate the higher technology cranes and cargo transporting equipment that were needed to handle the offshore wind components.
Ørsted conveniently overlooked the fact that some two years earlier during the reconstruction phase, ILA President Harold Daggett had written to Ørsted’s CEO on several occasions requesting that Ørsted provide training for ILA members.
All these letters were ignored and Ørsted referred members of the International Union of Operating Engineers for training even though the work for which they were being trained was longshore work. To this day, there is no contractual commitment from Ørsted recognizing ILA work jurisdiction and no training timeline.
“Ørsted’s failure to respect the core work jurisdiction of longshore workers in its wind turbine operations, if allowed to continue, will erode that work jurisdiction,” said ILA President Harold Daggett, who is encouraging all ILA Locals to rally on Wednesday in support of ILA work jurisdiction and to condemn Ørsted US. Jim Payor, ILA International Assistant General Organizer, and Pete Clark, ILA International Vice President are reaching out to all ILA Locals, assisting them with organizing rallies on Wednesday. The IDC and ITF are promoting all affiliates to join in Wednesday’s action against Ørsted US.
Ørsted US claims that it cannot recognize the work jurisdiction of the ILA even though Ørsted US, through its execution of a project labor agreement with the building trades unions, has recognized the work jurisdiction of those unions. By executing this agreement, Ørsted US has bound itself to a grievance procedure by which the building trades unions can dispute job assignments if they believe that another union is doing work in their traditional work jurisdiction.
The work for which the ILA is requesting to be trained is done by dockworkers in ports around the world including Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, and Australia. Ørsted US continues to ignore the fact that the work in dispute in the ports is longshore work. Simply stated, this Global Day of Action is intended to focus attention on the failure of Ørsted US’s parent company, Ørsted A/S, to hold Ørsted US accountable for its lapses in recognizing the ILA’s work jurisdiction, which is the same as the work jurisdiction of dockworkers around the world. The ILA, the ITF and the IDC want to ensure that all dockworkers are respected in Ørsted’s current and future projects.