Non-Union Labor Prompts Longshoremen’s Protest, Brawl
BALTIMORE (AP) _ Pickets protesting the use of non-union workers to unload cement from a freighter clashed with police at Port Covington, and three people were injured and five arrested, officials said.
Police said about 50 people, some carrying clubs and chains, attempted to reach the Cypriot ship Depy at about 10 p.m. Tuesday while non-union workers were trying to unload 416,219 bags of Polish cement.
About 125 members of the International Longshoremen’s Association had been picketing at the gate of Pier 7 before the fracas began.
The non-union labor had been hired by a small firm, Baltimore Launch and Marine Services Inc., which decided against hiring ILA workers because they would have charged more in wages and fringe benefits than the cargo was worth, said the company’s vice president and part-owner, Paul Trapani.
″We’re here trying to protect our jobs,″ Bernie Sloman, a cargo checker for ILA Local 953, said after the incident.
Police were pelted with rocks and bottles when they tried to keep demonstrators from marching toward the ship. Several police officers wielding nightsticks subdued one unidentified man. The demonstrators did not get on the ship or near the non-union workers.
Union demonstrators also blocked the path of a forklift driven by a Baltimore Launch warehouse superintendent, Mark Ferragamo, and demonstrators and police shoved each other.
Injured were police Sgt. Walter Price, who received scrapes when the forklift ran over his foot; Patrolman Richard Smith, who scraped his head and hands when he was thrown to a field littered with broken glass and cinders; and a picket, Jerry Klemkowski, who was brushed aside by the moving forklift.
Police arrested five men on charges including disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.