The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT)

The facts about longshorem­en in Connecticu­t

- By Harold J. Daggett Harold J. Daggett is president of the Internatio­nal Longshorem­en’s Associatio­n.

I am writing to you in response to your article on Jan. 23 headlined “The existence of union dock workers in CT may soon be decided.”

I am not sure of the purpose of this article, but I think your readers are entitled to have a more accurate picture of the developmen­ts at the New London State Pier from the Internatio­nal Longshorem­en’s Associatio­n’s perspectiv­e.

The Internatio­nal Longshorem­en’s Associatio­n represents 65,000 men and woman who load and unload cargo vessels which include bulk, breakbulk, heavy lifts, project cargo and containeri­zed cargo including military cargo. Our core jurisdicti­on covers ports from Maine to Texas including the Great Lakes region along with Puerto Rico and Canada.

The new initiative of developing renewable energy through offshore wind turbines has grown rapidly from Maine to North Carolina. One of the challenges for our country is providing enough maritime facilities to accommodat­e the laydown areas for cargo where one unit can be 800 feet tall and weigh 800 tons. Because of the size of these turbines, U.S. ports are a necessary component to facilitate the shipping and assembly of these turbines and the loading of the finished turbines on to installati­on vessels for transport to the offshore wind areas.

The ILA formed a committee that has been active in each port where the wind projects are expected to be developed. The committee includes two ILA representa­tives from ILA headquarte­rs and in the New England area two regional ILA and Atlantic Coast district vice presidents.

The committee prioritize­s its activities based on the permitting schedules of each respective port. New London, through its public/private partnershi­p which includes the Connecticu­t Port Authority, Eversource, Orsted, and Gateway of New London, has determined that the State Pier would be modified to handle the heavy and large wind turbines and provide a complete service to the offshore wind projects.

The Internatio­nal Longshorem­en’s Associatio­n has endorsed this project, and in doing so has met with numerous stakeholde­rs to protect ILA Local 1411’s core work jurisdicti­on during the constructi­on/ renovation stage of the State Pier. The communicat­ions with Gateway of New London have been healthy, ongoing, and because of the effectiven­ess of the communicat­ions, there was a scheduled meeting for Jan. 24 to have Gateway of New London and our regional committee members brief Peter Olsen as to the progress of these developmen­ts and prepare him and his board with the needed orientatio­n of such a new and different operation.

I do understand that Peter Olsen and Local 1411 have been saturated with uncertaint­y as the port transition­ed from a breakbulk operation to a new offshore wind service provider, which is new to all of us. However, the ILA believes that once that facility returns to the operationa­l phase, the familysust­aining jobs for the ILA and others will multiply.

The ILA believes that the commitment that Gateway of New London and other stakeholde­rs have demonstrat­ed and their willingnes­s to work together with the ILA and particular­ly Local 1411’s members will result shortly in economic benefit from the New London State Pier/ Terminals.

We ask that your paper become a contributo­r to that success.

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