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Longshoremen On Strike In Baltimore Harbor

Members of the Local 333 walk the picket line at Baltimore harbor.
Elliott Francis
Members of the Local 333 walk the picket line at Baltimore harbor.

A strike by longshoremen at the port of Baltimore is shutting down operations at one of the nation's busiest shipping ports.

Millions of dollars of cargo sits idle as longshoreman walk the picket line in a contract dispute with shipping officials.

The dispute between the Steamship Trade Association and the 1,200 dock workers has been festering for the three years the longshoremen have been without a contract. They also want that agreement to be fair, which is why members of International Longshoreman's Association local 333 refused the latest contract offer this week and authorized this strike.

"All we want is a fair contract," says John Dandridge, a longshoreman of 13 years. "They're making billions of dollars and don't want to give you a fair living. If this is what we have to do then this is what we will do. Maybe somewhere in America somebody might hear our plea."

High on the long list of disputed contract points is the issue of worker safety on the docks. The longshoremen say the loading and unloading of thousands of tons of cargo is one of the most hazardous jobs in the shipping industry.

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