NORTH BERGEN, NJ – (June 22, 2018) In the past week, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor convinced two media outlets to run news segments aimed at justifying their continued existence in the face of growing legislative pressure from New Jersey and New York to disband the antiquated, unnecessary and costly agency, according to ILA President Harold J. Daggett who issued the following statement:
While the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO is enjoying successes at all its ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, including a recent tentative agreement on a new six-year Master Contract with United States Maritime Alliance (USMX), the Waterfront Commission is scrambling to undermine proposed legislation in New York State that would mirror widely supported legislation passed in New Jersey to eliminate the agency.
Because the Waterfront Commission continues to interfere with the Collective Bargaining Agreements negotiated by the ILA and New York Shipping Association, it is threatening the success of the ILA’s tentative Master Contract. The Waterfront Commission adds a substantial cost to doing business throughout the Port of New York and New Jersey
The expense of the Waterfront Commission drives cargo to other ports to the South and North. New York and New Jersey consumers get hit with higher costs on products when cargo is shipped to another port and then sent here by truck or rail. This abuse of power by the Waterfront Commission and their stranglehold on business trying to operate here figures largely in cargo finding other ports.
As an agency that was created more than 65 years ago to supposedly keep organized crime influence away from the docks, they have failed miserably by their own admission: The Waterfront Commission claims they are still needed because the criminals they were suppose to eliminate for the past six and half decades are still present.
For the past 25 years, the ILA has employed an independent Ethical Practices Counselor to enforce a very strict ILA Code of Conduct. The Ethical Practices Counselor is equipped with a toll-free number whereby members can call anonymously to report any violations to their rights or report any influence of organized crime elements. As a result, the Commission’s original purpose is gone, and the Commission has begun policing the industry’s collective bargaining agreements in order to ensure its continued life.
The two recent media reports gave a platform to a bureaucrat employed by the agency who argued not, surprisingly, that his job was vital and could not be eliminated. Despite the one-sided nature of these reports, the Commission employee was forced to scramble a little when a reporter asked them why the Commission was now interfering in collective bargaining. The bureaucrat responded vaguely, saying that the Commission now needs to ensure “diversity.” The ILA, whose entire membership at ports from Maine to Texas, Great Lakes, Puerto Rico and Canada is well over 70 percent minority, is criticized by an agency that refuses to disclose the diversity of its own workforce and has never had a single minority or woman as one of its commissioners or its Executive Director,
New York and New Jersey legislators are well aware that there are number of law enforcement agencies that can do a better and less costly job of licensing ILA members and policing the ports: for example, Homeland Security; the New Jersey State Police; the New York State Police; U.S. Coast Guard; Department of Justice and Department of Labor are just a few of powerful and effective overseers.
ILA members are good people. They perform amazing work under very dangerous and rough conditions. They contribute to the commerce of our metropolitan area, our country and the world. ILA members and their families are the leaders of their community and make a real positive impact on the lives of so many. The ILA is proud of the wage packages it negotiates for its members at all Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports, whereas the Waterfront Commission takes the position that working people must remain always on subsistence wages.
How ironic that a supposed watchdog agency like the Waterfront Commission uses lies and falsehoods about ILA members, the ILA and NYSA to prop itself up, like a House of Cards, to remain relevant.