Unions from Denmark and Germany have joined an international delegation in the US to call on Danish windfarm giant Ørsted to settle its ongoing dispute with American dockers union the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA).
The delegation of international union leaders arrived in New York to amplify the ILA’s settlement demands. The delegation, representing maritime workers across Ørsted’s European and global supply chains, will join the ILA in protests today (Thursday, 25 January).
President of the ILA Harold J. Daggett said: “The International Longshoremen’s Association is grateful for the powerful display of solidarity from 3F Transport, ver.di, International Transport Workers’ Federation and the International Dockworkers’ Council as we fight Ørsted to maintain jobs and protect our jurisdiction in the Port of New London, Connecticut and elsewhere. The ILA will not surrender in this battle, and we are now fortified and strengthened by this international demonstration of unity among dockworkers.”
3F Transport Vice President Karsten Kristensen said: “As a Danish trade unionist it is unbelievable that Ørsted US is not respecting the ILA and maritime unions. 3F Transport pledges its full support to the ILA and condemns Ørsted’s failure to respect ILA’s core jurisdiction of loading and unloading cargo. This same work is done by 3F dockers in Denmark who are loading the cargo headed to Ørsted US’s project in New London. We are here in the US meeting with the ILA, ver.di, ITF and IDC and together we are planning a global campaign against Ørsted.”
Maya Schwiegershausen-Güth, Head of Maritime Section for German union ver.di, said: “We will not tolerate an attack on dock workers, neither in the port of New London nor anywhere else. Dock work must only be delivered by unionised dockers. That is why we fully support the ILA in their fight against Ørsted US. German maritime workers stand in full support of our brothers and sisters in the US, and we will not sit idly by while Ørsted undermines their rights.”
The dispute stems from Ørsted's refusal to recognise the ILA's jurisdiction over loading and unloading cargo at the Port of New London, Connecticut. Following successive attempts made by the ILA to reach agreement with Ørsted, the company continues to deny ILA members jurisdiction in a port that that ILA has represented workers in for over 100 years.
The rally follows successive failed attempts by the ILA to reach a deal in negotiations. Last Friday talks broke down between the ILA, Ørsted, port operator Gateway, Eversource, the Connecticut Port Authority, the Connecticut Building Trades, the International Union of Operating Engineers, and representatives from Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont.
Paddy Crumlin, National Secretary of Australia’s Maritime Union of Australia and President of the ITF said: “Ørsted's tactics in the US are unacceptable to the point that leaders from powerful unions in Ørsted’s operations are flying to the US to send a direct message to the company’s global leadership: take responsibility for this mess or face further escalation. The solution is in front of Ørsted, bring your US management into line.”
Ørsted appears intent on disregarding the workers involved in delivering its services. Seafarers and dockers are vital to Ørsted’s supply chain to ensure the smooth delivery of their offshore wind projects globally.
Jordi Aragund Miguens, International Dockers’ Council General Coordinator said: ‘Ørsted need to remember that dockers are international. We take a very critical view of what they are doing to our brothers and sisters in the US, and unless they are prepared to step up and do the right thing by the ILA, we will be considering stepping up action across their supply chain. Their dispute in this small port will end up affecting them worldwide.’’
ILA: Jim McNamara +1917-853-0440 firstname.lastname@example.org
3F: Karsten Kristensen, +45 21205644 Karsten.email@example.com
ver.di: Maya Schwiegershausen-Güth +49 171 8631093
About the ILA: The International Longshoremen’s Association is the largest union of maritime workers in North America, representing upwards of 70,000 longshoremen on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Great Lakes, major U.S. rivers, Puerto Rico and Eastern Canada.
About 3F: 3F Transport represents 50,000 transport workers in Denmark including truck, taxi and bus drivers, warehouse workers, dockers, seafarers, fishermen, aviation ground handling worker and platform workers. 3F Transport is affiliated to the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
About ver.di: Verdi represents two million unionized workers in Germany in multiple sectors including dockers, seafarers, aviation, logistics, warehousing, public sector, education, health services, utilities and other sectors. Ver.di is affiliated to the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and hold positions on the ITF’s Executive Board and Management Committee.
About the ITF: The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a global, democratic, affiliate-led movement of 740 transport workers’ unions recognised as the world’s leading transport authority. We fight passionately to improve working lives; connecting trade unions and workers’ networks from 153 countries to secure rights, equality and justice for their members. We are the voice of the 20 million transport workers who move the world.
About the IDC: The International Dockworkers Council (IDC) is a union federation made up of dockworker organizations from around the world. Its basic principles define it as a working class, unitary, independent, democratic, representative and assembly organisation.