Maritime union strikes, holding up taconite shipmentsby Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio
Duluth, Minn. — Fourteen freighters that haul taconite and other goods across the Great Lakes have been laid up by a strike, without resolution in sight.
The strike began Monday morning, when about 140 crew members of the American Maritime Union, or AMO, failed to reach a deal on a new contract with American Steamship Company.
Initiating a strike was a tough decision, said union president Tom Bethel.
"The last time AMO, the union, has been on strike on the lakes, it was 1980," Bethel said. "We're not a union that believes in strike. No one wins in a strike. My biggest concern as president of AMO is to have people working."
No new negotiations are scheduled, and most sailors have gone home, Bethel said. Officials with American Steamship Company declined comment, but issued a statement indicating the company will work toward operating their ships next year, with other qualified crew members. It is uncertain what will happen to the cargo the company's ships were scheduled to haul.