A top official from the International Longshoremen’s Association complained that the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor is “overstepping their boundaries."
“We can sit around and talk about productivity and what is best for the industry. I believe management has good intent; I believe the ILA has good intent. But the big umpire in the room is the Waterfront Commission,” Dennis Daggett, president of the ILA’s Atlantic Coast District and of Local 1804-1, said at a gathering of industry leaders from the Port of New York and New Jersey.
Daggett, who is the son of ILA President Harold Daggett, said the commissioners “do not belong in the collective bargaining process." The commission is a bistate agency created by New York and New Jersey in 1953 to fight crime and corruption on the waterfront.
The commission has announced it will hold hearings on a request made on September by the ILA and New York Shipping Association, which represents employers, to add 532 longshore employees and 150 checker/clerks to alleviate labor shortages in the port and to replace 300 longshoremen who are expected to retire early next year. Last week the ILA and the NYSA issued a joint press release in which John Nardi, the president of the NYSA, said they were “frustrated with the slow-moving bureaucratic pace of the Waterfront Commission, which has now established hearings that are not scheduled to end until two and a half months after the initial request.”
Nardi said any delay in implementing the hiring program as defined by the CBA will have a severe impact on cargo flow and a resultant negative economic impact."
Daggett also said that there is a need to hire maintenance and repair workers that are represented by his local. The new contract approved by ILA locals was “proactive and progressive” for the “betterment of this union and this industry," he added.
“The only one who can help us, in my opinion, is Governor Christie,” Daggett said. “Politics are a mess in New York; everyone is afraid to talk about it. It’s a cry in our industry to Governor Christie right now; we need his help.”
The commission has the right to review requests to expand the workforce in the union, and it has also announced plans “to determine the appropriate manner for the recruitment, referral, selection, hiring, and training of individuals to be included in the ‘A’ or ‘1969 Amendment’ Longshoremen’s Register.” Those are workers who do maintenance and repair work in the port and who are represented by ILA locals such as the one that Daggett heads.