Day 3 of Strike Leaves 7 Ships Laid-Up in Twin Ports

By KBJR News 1

August 3, 2011 Updated Aug 3, 2011 at 8:52 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - It's day three for the 50 maritime officers and stewards on strike in the Twin Ports.

Now seven ships are laid-up in the harbor until the strike is resolved or replacement workers are found.

Officers and stewards, who are part of the American Maritime Officers union, went on strike at midnight Monday after their contract with the American Steamship Company expired.

The contract debate includes dispute over pension plans, medical care and a planned work force reduction of up to 59 positions.

ASC is working to find replacements to get at least two of the seven ships, now docked in the Twin Ports, moving.

Union members say the temporary work stoppage could have a significant impact on businesses all around the Great Lakes.

"We carry taconite, out of here and coal. Stone comes from the Lake Huron docks. This is a major link in the area economy. We're here to take care of our families and we're going to do what we have to do," said Bruce Callahan, 1st assistant engineer on one of the docked ships.

In all, about 140 AMO union members are on strike throughout the Great Lakes, and 14 operating ASC vessels have been put on temporary work stoppage.

If the strike remains unresolved, ASC plans to replace all workers for 2012.

Posted to Web by Jena Pike