W. Bernard Dudley, ILA’s Atlantic Coast District General Vice President, Passes Away at 72

ILA President Harold Daggett Says ILA Has Lost A Brilliant Negotiator and Accomplished Man

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. – (November 12, 2020) William Bernard Dudley, one of the most respected leaders in the International Longshoremen’s Association, passed away today in New Jersey.  He was nearing his 73rd birthday on November 22nd.

Known to his legion of ILA friends and admirers as “B” or Bernard, Brother Dudley was one of the top Executive Officers of the Atlantic Coast District, ILA and had been re-elected 16 months ago to a second term as General Vice President of the Atlantic Coast District.   Less than a year ago, Brother Dudley completed his sixth term as President of ILA Local 1233 in Newark and chose not to run for re-election.   He long was a force in local negotiations in the Port of New York and New Jersey as well as in Master Contract negotiations between the ILA and United States Maritime Alliance.

“The ILA has lost one of its bravest soldiers with the passing of Bernard Dudley,” said International President Harold J. Daggett.  “A true champion to the ILA working man and woman he represented with dignity and honor.  He was a brilliant negotiator and labor leader and an accomplished man.  A brother to me for decades and a role model to my two sons, Dennis and John.  He and I shared similar experiences as young men, serving our country during the Vietnam War – he earned a Bronze Star for his heroic service –  and then we both made our way to the New York/New Jersey Waterfront.”



William Bernard Dudley was unanimously re-elected as General Vice President, Atlantic Coast District, International Longshoremen’s Association at the District’s Convention in July 2019.  The ACD includes all ports on the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Virginia; U.S. and Canadian ports of the Great Lakes; Eastern Canada; major U.S. rivers and Puerto Rico.

This past December 2019, Mr. Dudley completed his sixth term as President of ILA Local 1233 in Newark, New Jersey and chose not to run for re-election.  He was first elected president of ILA Local 1233 in 2001.

His leadership of one of the largest ILA Locals for almost two decades was marked with many successes in contract negotiations and expanding membership.  As  Local president, Brother Dudley brought great recognition to ILA Local 1233 within the Newark community.

Previously, he was elected to the Local’s Board of Trustees in 1992 and served in that capacity for three terms. He served on the Local’s Building Committee, Scholarship Committee and is a co-founder of the Local 1233 Annual Memorial Service. He became a Longshoreman in 1979 and served as an Assistant Foreman, a Stevedore, and in other positions at Port Newark. He became the ILA Dispatcher at New York Shipping Association, Inc. in 1996 and served in that capacity until his 2001 election as Local f1233 President.

In July 2008 he was appointed ILA Atlantic Coast District Vice President and elected to the position in July 2011.  In 2011, newly elected ACD President Dennis A. Daggett named Bernard Dudley as Chairman of the ILA Atlantic Coast District Civil Rights Committee.

Mr. Dudley is affiliated with Bethany Lodge No. 31, P.H.F&A Masons; Omega Phi Epsilon Fraternity, Graduate Chapter; Urban League Guild of Essex County; A. Philip Randolph Institute, Union County Chapter; New Jersey Labor Advisory Board to United Negro College Fund, Inc.; Union County Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO and the  Essex-West Hudson Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

Mr. Dudley is a long-serving delegate to the New York-New Jersey District Council, ILA;  a member of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO;  and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Newark Chapter.

Mr. Dudley has received numerous awards and citations for his services. In February 2014, he received the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award from the Urban League of Essex County. In November 2013, he was honored by the Greater New York Councils Boy Scouts of America with their Maritime, Labor and Industry “Good Scout” Award.

Other organizations to honor Mr. Dudley include: Roy Kirkley, Sr. “Pioneer of Labor Award” from the New Jersey Labor Advisory Board to United Negro College Fund, Inc (2012); Labor Award from the Essex-West Hudson Labor Council, AFL-CIO (2010); Presidential Award from the A. Phillip Randolph Institute, Essex and Union Counties (2009); Labor Leader of the Year from the African-American Heritage Parade Committee (2006). Bethany Lodge No. 31 honored him for outstanding achievements (May 2004); Man of the Year Award from the Urban League Guild of Essex County (2003); Donald M. Payne Spirit of Brotherhood Award by the Omega Phi Epsilon Fraternity (2001).

Born in Wilson, North Carolina on November 22, 1947, Mr. Dudley relocated with his family to Newark, New Jersey. He graduated from the Newark Public School System; served in the Vietnam War and received a Bronze Star. He matriculated at Kean University, Union, New Jersey and Essex County College, Newark, New Jersey.

Mr. Dudley is a member of the Good Neighbor Baptist Church, Newark, New Jersey, where he serves in the Men’s Ministry and is a former Trustee. He is married to LeVerne Childs-Dudley, and they reside in Edison, New Jersey.