The West Coast dockworkers’ union and the state of Maryland say the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) should be able to sue ocean carriers that called the Port of Charleston’s Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal, according to briefs filed with a US appeals court that will decide whether the ILA’s lawsuit was legal. The ILA’s lawsuit claims that the carriers and USMX violated the master contract by employing non-union state workers at Leatherman. The AFL-CIO and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association also filed briefs in support of the ILA. On the other hand, the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) and the US Maritime Alliance (USMX) are seeking to overturn a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruling in favour of the ILA. The SCPA and USMX argue that the lawsuit is an attempt to secure more jobs for ILA members.
As the legal battle continues, ocean carriers have been avoiding using Leatherman due to the risk of lawsuits. The ILWU and the state of Maryland argue that the outcome of the case could impact their own work preservation agreements, while Maryland emphasizes the economic benefits of the all-union workforce at the Port of Baltimore.