Longshoremen shut down East Coast ports

    Work stoppage over change of site for unloading Del Monte pineapples is case of ‘sour grapes,’ port manager charges.

    Workers who unload pineapples are upset their jobs have been moved to a cheaper port. So longshoremen shut down ports along the East Coast Wednesday.

    Unionized workers who unload pineapples for Del Monte at the Port of Philadelphia are picketing, saying their work has been given to another union that pays low wages and sub-par benefits.

    Andre Glasco has been working on the docks for 36 years. He’s upset the work has been taken away.

    “Our basic entry levels are getting like $15 an hour and you are bringing in guys for $8 an hour to do the same job that we do with the danger that’s involved in it and less benefits,” Glasco says.

    The work has been moved to the Gloucester Terminal, a few miles away. Walter Curran, manager of operations at Gloucester, says the Philadelphia unions are conspiring against him.

    “We have three different unions and the wages and benefits are competitive. This is absolutely a case of sour grapes by the union leadership in Philadelphia,” says Curran.

    Curran, who concedes he’s paying less, says the wages are fair.

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