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March 25, 2003

Union-Buster Gets Iraq Port Contract

The pigs are at the trough and Bush has handed a private contract for managing the port of Umm Qasr to Stevedoring Services of America (SSA), a nasty union-busting firm.

Here is this from the Portland Labor/Peace mailing list

World-wide union buster gets Iraq contract

According to Reuters, the White House today awarded a $4.8 million
contract to Stevedoring Services of America (SSA) to manage the Iraqi
port of Umm Qasr.

SSA is a notoriously anti-union company that has led efforts to break
longshore unions around the world.

Last year's lockout of West Coast longshore workers was driven in
large part by SSA. International Longshore and Warehouse Union
president James Spinosa termed SSA "the primary roadblock to an
effective West Coast longshore contract settlement," and accused them
of "undermining negotiations, because their primary interests are in
breaking the union." Even before the West Coast lockout -- which was
prompted SSA demands that the Pacific Maritime Association crack down
on workers -- the company had already moved 150 union jobs from the
Los Angeles port to a non-union logistics location in Utah.

In the late 1990s, SSA was part of an effort to break the Australian
dock unions.

Most recently, SSA pressured the government of Bangladesh to let it
open a private port that would compete with or replace a
government-owned port and its unionized workforce. Despite having the
support of the US ambassador to Bangladesh, SSA's proposal was ruled
illegal by the Bangladesh High Court in November 2002.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the shipping industry gave 68% of its $4.3
million in campaign contributions to Republicans in the 2000 election
cycle. SSA CEO Jon Hemingway personally gave three-quarters of his
nearly $10,000 in personal political contributions over the past
three years to Republicans.

It is hard to overstate how repulsive it is that a company which has
made a career of attacking unions and undermining job standards
around the world is now going to make money off the blood spilled in
Iraq. All I can say is, I pray to God that no longshore workers, and
no children of longshore workers, lost their lives in the battles
that led to this contract.

Posted by Nathan at March 25, 2003 06:57 PM

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