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Ed Thorne

Gear Man

International Longshoremen’s Association, Local 1317
Cleveland, Ohio
26 years in the Industry


Union life is in Ed Thorne’s blood. His father was a steward for the storied ILA at the Port of Cleveland, and Thorne began his career on the docks right out of high school. “My first job involved laboring in the holds of the ships and operating the tow motors inside the hold placing the cargo under the crane to be discharged. I’ve also operated the tow motor on the dock. It was hard work, but I enjoyed it.”

Watching how the more experienced workers did their jobs provided on-the-job training for Thorne and he eventually learned how to operate the massive cranes. For the past 14 years, he has been in charge of everything related to the operation of the crane – from assessing the correct rigging for the cargo that needs to be on/off loaded to laying out the necessary equipment for each gang.

“I help the union steward and foremen supervise the gangs. Each gang has around 14 people and we average about three gangs per ship.”

Thorne is a trustee for his local union and enjoys his work and appreciates the opportunities and benefits he receives. “Working on the docks is truly a group effort. We all know our jobs and what needs to be done. What I like most about my job is the opportunity to problem solve with each shipment – what cargo is loaded where on the ship, the proper rigging for the different cargoes, and the correct crane for the cargo.” 

“Every day is different and I get to be outside. It’s the perfect job for me.”