Longshoremen working long hours; haven’t taken day off since pandemic began

ByBria Bolden|May 20, 2020 at 10:39 PM EDT - Updated May 20 at 11:35 PM

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - When we think of essential workers, healthcare workers, first responders, food service workers come to mind, but what about longshoremen?

Did you know they have been working hard to get the community what it needs during the health crisis?

Savannah’s Vice President of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1414 says they haven’t taken a day off since the pandemic began.

“Throughout all of that the men and women haven’t backed up. They continue to come to work, they don’t complain, and they do what they have to do," said Paul Mosley, Sr., Vice Precident, ILA Local 1414.

Paul Mosley has been with the ILA for 16 years.

He says the longshoremen and women on the ports keep working to provide essential items for the community.

And things would look much different without them.

“If we weren’t doing what we are doing and we were to shut down for let’s say five days or a week, a lot of stuff and distribution sales will go short. Grocery stores just for day-to-day items, hospitals, a lot of their stuff is shipped and it starts on the ship. And from that ship we get it on rail, we put it on trucks we get it out to the communities where it needs to go," said Mosley.

Mosley says some are not working as much as they used to, but he says the ports and the Savannah River have been maintaining the state’s economy.

Local 1414 President Jackie Robinson has been a longshoremen for 44 years.

He says it's a blessing to see their workers.

“A lot of places are laying off or not working at all so it’s a blessing that to see all our workers day to day. We have a lower seniority that they are not working as much and hopefully in a few weeks or so they’ll start back to working," said Jackie Robinson, President, ILA Local 1414.

And as essential workers, ILA 1414 says they’ll continue to work and provide for the communities they call home.

"The ships continue to come in and out of the Port of Savannah,” said Robinson.

“For a lot of the longshoreman and longshore women Savannah’s home for us. So it feels great to be an important part of the puzzle, to keep everything together and to be in important part of the glue to keep everything together for this great state in this great city," said Mosley.

Mosely also says the longshoremen and women are getting their jobs outside of their union hall to practice social distancing.

They’re also getting temperature scans, using gloves, and masks and began doing COVID-19 testing at their hall.

Photo: WTOC

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