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What Do Longshoremen Do?

First in a 6-Part Series on Longshoremen

Longshoremen have difficult dangerous jobsLongshoremen are the men and women working in ports, docks, shores, coasts and bodies of water on U.S. and foreign waters loading and unloading ship holds of cargo.

The International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union shares the story of the origins of the word longshoremen in the beginning of the century when the longshore industry began with the work of loading and unloading ships’ cargoes.

“Men Along the Shore”

The word “longshoremen,” according to the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union, came from the days of clipper ships. Sailings were not on any particular schedule so crew for the ships were gathered by men walking along the shores crying: “Men along the shore!” which then incepted the term “longshoremen.”

Longshoremen are also known as dock laborers, harbor workers, Stevedores or dockers.

Longshoremen work in all weather conditions and at all hours of the day and night because it is a 24-hour work operation that never stops. Longshoremen operate huge cranes and forklifts to load and unload cargo from some of the largest cargo ships in the world.

Longshoremen Risk Health Daily

Longshoremen are exposed to dangerous machinery, hazardous weather, extremely strenuous physical activity is part of a normal day’s work. Every day, longshoremen are surrounded by constant loud noises, breathing fumes from machinery and ships. Longshoremen have an incredibly high chance that they will be injured every day they go to work. Injuries can be brought about by inclement and dangerous weather.  shipping containers and cargo falling, equipment failures, fires, fumes or even drowning.

Job Physicality of Longshoremen

The pure job physicality of longshoremen, on ships and on ports and docks, requires strength and endurance, attention to detail and a constant state of awareness of the surroundings. Just think of how many waterways there are in each part of the world – oceans, rivers, lakes, estuaries, seas – and then think of how many consumer items, defense parts, and other manufactured goods are made each day in the world.

That level of import, the enormity of the many, many products that are brought into the United States might give you an idea of how much work longshoremen do. A longshoremen’s job requires continual moving of cargo on and off ships, repairing ships, moving things in a grueling, around-the-clock pace.

The Garfinkel Schwartz History with Longshoremen

Cocoa Beach, Florida and Maitland, Florida law firm Garfinkel Schwartz helps Longshoremen regain lost or denied medical care so that men and women can take care of their families. Garfinkel Schwartz is providing this series on longshoremen and the many contributions of the longshoremen profession.

Garfinkel Schwartz represents Longshore Act clients around the country: we will fly to you to interview you, to work with you where you live and where you are recovering from injury or illness. Our firm has a history of working to obtain the necessary medical care for Longshoremen recovering from injuries and being treated for illnesses that occur on the ports, docks, shores, coasts and U.S. waterways.

Garfinkel Schwartz is an historically military-centric firm with service by law firm founder Alan Garfinkel’s father and grandfather who fought honorably in World War I and II; John M. Schwartz, Esq., was a Vietnam veteran. DBA and Longshore Act lawyer Schwartz was Alan’s father-in-law with whom Alan worked.

John M. Schwartz, after whom Garfinkel Schwartz is named, worked in Titusville, Florida; Orlando, Florida; Cocoa Village, Florida; Cape Canaveral, Florida; and Fernandina Beach, Florida offices, for almost 40 years serving longshoremen and fighting for their rights due through the Longshore Act.  

Next in the Series on Longshoremen: How to Become a Longshoreman