Port dispute is not just about wages [Letter]

January 23, 2014

The longshoremen's dispute at the Port of Baltimore is probably not about wages ("Cargo being diverted as port labor standoff continues," Jan. 17). Articles in The Sun have only mentioned that "rookie" (i.e. apprentice) wages will double and all wages will increase 45 percent overall in the next 6 years. No one would be against that. This is obviously about health care, pensions and retirement.

I know nothing of ILA 333's contract or negotiations. Nor do I know any member of 333. As a union member, I do know about contracts. Companies are reeling against previously negotiated health and retirement plans. Without any knowledge of the negotiations, I think you've missed the greater part of the story.

While a new worker may take a job at $32-an-hour while paying for their own health care and retirement, we "baby boomers" may not. We signed up for a job, a career, health care, an annuity and a pension. Are the shipping companies eliminating these benefits? Please report the full story. You've focused on wages only.

Jay Bludis

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