A labor leader at the Port of Baltimore is calling for a special conference and mediation committee to ease the contentious relationship between the port's labor and management.
Horace W. Davis, president of Local 1429 of the International Longshoremen's Association, sent a letter Saturday to leaders of state, private industry and labor associated with the port.
"I'm just hoping it will make a contribution to all parties," said Davis, whose union local represents shipping-container repairmen, line handlers, ship cleaners and warehouse workers, among others. With about 350 members, it is the third largest of the port's five ILA locals.
"I am deeply concerned about the image of the Port of Baltimore," Davis wrote in the letter. The three-paragraph document was addressed to Gov. William Donald Schaefer, ILA International President John Bowers, Steamship Trade Association of Baltimore President Maurice Byan, Maryland Port Administration Executive Director Brendan "Bud" O'Malley, other local ILA leaders, reporters and the heads of the state and local AFL-CIO labor councils.
Several councils and groups have tried over the years to bring together the port's often warring factions. But none has managed to accomplish the objective, Davis said.
The new group would provide a forum for addressing concerns and could appoint an independent mediator to settle differences, Davis said. For example, management could complain about union "featherbedding" and the union could question the state's role in labor negotiations, he said.
"I think the biggest problem is a lack of communication," Davis said.