MOUNT PLEASANT — Longshoremen refused to unload a ship on Thursday morning for more than an hour in a show of solidarity with workers in Bangladesh who labor in dangerous sweatshops for pennies an hour, a spokesman said.
“It’s the cargo on the ship. We’ve got a concern about workers around the world,” said Leonard Riley of International Longshoreman’s Association 1422.
After the protest, the dock workers said they would return to their jobs and unload the Carolina Maersk, which they said carried clothes made at the same factory where more than 100 Bangladeshi workers were killed in a fire last month.
The union joined with Occupy Charleston to protest the arrival of the cargo which they said was bound for Wal-Mart.
“The ILA is honoring our picket,” said Brett Bursey, executive director of the South Carolina Progressive Network, which helped organize the demonstration.
About 50 people who participated in the picket were placed in a designated free speech zone outside the port entrance. They urged people not to shop at Wal-Mart.
The group dispersed peacefully after the longshoremen returned to work.
South Carolina State Ports Authority spokeswoman Allison Skipper had no comment on the protest. She said port operations at the Wando Welch Terminal resumed at 8:30 a.m.
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