Multiple sources reported that a longshoremen labor strike at the Port of Baltimore Wednesday morning has forced the closure of the port’s major terminals. All cargos at the port's public marine terminals continue to be affected and no ships are operating.
The strike was brought into effect by a vote held Tuesday night where the International Longshoremen's Association Local 333 rejected a local contract with the Steamship Trade Association of Baltimore, which represent the port's employers of longshoremen, The Baltimore Sun reported. The port’s three other unions have joined the strike alongside Local 333. Among the issues up for negotiations are port safety and wages.
The union dispute and subsequent strike and port closure are said to pose major impacts on the surrounding area and the state of Maryland. The Port of Baltimore is among the top 10 most active ports in the United States, and some 15,000 workers are employed by port operations, while thousands more have jobs that are directly affected its business.
Negotiations are between the Steamship Trade Association (STA) of Baltimore and the International Longshoremen’s Association local. The STA is working towards arbitration procedures to request that work may resume.
The Port of Baltimore handles roughly 30 million tons of cargo annually. An extended stoppage at the port could force shipping lines to conduct business elsewhere, diverting much of that cargo to other ports nearby.
The Maryland Port Administration said it remains hopeful that the involved parties will reach a resolution quickly.
Sources: Staff, The Baltimore Sun, CBS