The president of the New York Shipping Association (NYSA) fired back at the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor with a statement saying that the NYSA board of directors met Tuesday and "again unanimously affirmed its support of the complaint filed last week against the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor."
John Nardi, the president of the NYSA, said, “Any suggestion, by any party, that the NYSA does not represent the best interests of its membership reflects a lack of understanding of the priorities of the shipping industry and the economic engine it powers."
Last month, NYSA, together with the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., against the Waterfront Commission alleging interference in their collective bargaining process.
The Waterfront Commission said the lawsuit “is actually designed to prevent the commission from fulfilling its mandate to ensure the fair hiring of a diverse workforce in the port.”
In a statement, the Waterfront Commission said the lawsuit has “needlessly depleted its members’ resources” and that the “NYSA has definitively demonstrated that
it no longer represents the interests of its terminal operator members but, rather, that of the ILA."
The Waterfront Commission continued, “This attempt to institutionalize discrimination through collective bargaining agreements will not be tolerated. The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor will vigorously and successfully defend this lawsuit.” It said allegations of improper interference with the collective bargaining process by the Waterfront Commission “are categorically untrue. Over the past sixty years, courts have consistently upheld the commission’s actions when a collective bargaining agreement has violated the letter and spirit of the Waterfront Commission Act.
“As shown by public hearings, current provisions in the collective bargaining agreements of the ILA, NYSA and Metropolitan Marine Maintenance Contractors Association (MMMCA) have perpetuated disparate hiring practices, resulting in an incredible lack of diversity in waterfront employment, as well as an income gap among those minorities that are employed there."
The Waterfront Commission said, “Indeed, the hiring, training and promotion practices of the industry have led to no/low-work, no/low-show positions generally characterized by outsized salaries provided to a privileged class. Those with such positions are overwhelmingly given to white males connected to organized crime figures or union leadership."
The Waterfront Commission said Nardi’s previous assertion that the ILA is already a diverse workforce was "staggering."
“This is directly contradicted by the demographics of the only two ILA locals that have joined in the lawsuit, Local 1804-1 and Local 1814, whose registrants are less than 2 percent and 8 percent African American, respectively. It is for this very reason that the New York State Division of Human Rights has filed charges against the NYSA, MMMCA, ILA, and ILA locals alleging discriminatory hiring," the commission said.
Meanwhile, the ILA said its President Harold Daggett and Dennis Daggett, his son, and president of 1804-1, are headed to the White House on Thursday to participate in a Labor-Management Summit
“It’s an honor for the ILA that we have been invited to the White House to be part of this White House summit,” said ILA President Harold Daggett. “I’m very excited about participating in this event with my son, Dennis.”
Dave Adam, the leader of United States Maritime Alliance, is also participating on the panel that the White House said would celebrate partnerships between labor and management.