They’re ‘Worried to Death’

( – Besides the six victims who have been pronounced or are presumed dead due to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, the incident’s aftermath could victimize more people as hardworking local longshoremen “worried to death” about how it would affect their livelihood.

The dockworkers at the Port of Baltimore are grappling with intense anxiety over their job security following the catastrophic collapse of the bridge, The New York Post informs in a report.

This incident has abruptly halted operations in the vital maritime gateway, causing significant concern among those who depend on the bustling port for their livelihood.

Scott Cowan, who holds the position of President at the International Longshoremen’s Association Local No. 333 – Port of Baltimore, conveyed these fears in an interview with The Post.

“When there are no ships or cargo, there is no work. As long as the shipping channel is closed, it’s going to be virtually no work for our people,” Cowan said.

The collapse of the 1.6-mile bridge into the Patapsco River on March 27, caused by a collision with a cargo ship, has led to a likely scenario where the longshoremen, who are essential for the loading and unloading of ships, will face layoffs due to the cessation of work.

The aftermath of this disaster saw a standstill in ship arrivals at the port, with a significant reduction in the anticipated maritime traffic.

Cowan pointed out the direct impact on those associated with port activities, especially the longshoremen who are considered the front line of this crisis.

The looming uncertainty has instilled a deep sense of fear among the 2,400 union members, considering the port’s significant role in generating over $80 billion in cargo value and supporting more than 15,300 direct jobs, with an additional 140,000 jobs indirectly linked to its operations.

Cowan remarked on the significance of their profession as a “sought-after, lucrative blue-collar job,” now threatened by an unprecedented event that “changes the game.”

“We worked all through the pandemic. We didn’t miss a beat. We made sure that those goods came through these ports and went to the consumer,” he said.

“Now it’s reversed. No goods are coming. The goods will come through another port and the consumers will still get them, but our longshore workers are not working,” the worried man added.

Cowan expressed hope for financial assistance from both local and federal levels to support the union members during the bridge’s repair period, which officials have warned could extend over several years.

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