BEAUMONT, Texas — Women who work at the Port of Beaumont claim they are not allowed to go on board ships that belong to James J. Flanagan Shipping Corp. in a work dispute gaining lots of attention in Beaumont.
Female members of the International Longshoremen's Association Local 21 say they aren't allowed to go on board ships belonging to the company.
Flanagan denies any gender discrimination.
The female members say they're allowed to work on all other vessels and have been doing the same work as the men for more than 20 years.
Tuesday, they 'stopped working' in hopes of coming to a new agreement.
The union's district office ruled in favor of Flanagan and ordered them back to work.
Rita Stelly, Vice President of the union, said women are still not allowed to board the ships and they will continue to fight what they call 'gender discrimination.'
"We not asking for nothing, we want to go to work, this is our livelihood," Stelly said. "We have to feed our families, we have to pay our bills, and we also as a union, we're each other's helpers."
A press release from Flanagan say the contract with the union gives them the freedom to direct work as necessary and place workers at their discretion, and safety is their main priority.
According to Tom Flanagan, the union members returned to work at one Tuesday afternoon.
"I had did bags, which is 110 pounds," Local 21 member Kimberley Wiley said. "I worked on pipes, I did chains, I did it all, I go in there to work, I do not go there to sit down."