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Feb. 17, 2014

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INTERNATIONAL MARITIME 50 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE FEBRUARY 17.2014 By Joseph Bonney ROUND AND ROUND ON NY-NJ HIRING The lawsuit pitting the ILA and employers against the Waterfront Commission takes a new turn — the existing waterfront contract is clear in stating that if M&R is required while the chas- sis is at the terminal, the work belongs to the union with jurisdiction at the facility, PMA President Jim McKenna said. However, if the roadability issue involves a container at an off-dock site, such as a stor- age facility operated by a leasing pool, it's an issue between the ILWU and the pool opera- tor, he said. PROBLEMS MOUNT IN NY-NJ Labor jurisdiction over M&R work has been an even more volatile issue in New York-New Jersey, and was an especially hot issue in the 2012 contract negotiations with the ILA. The three major leasing companies worked out arrangements with the ILA to preserve ILA jurisdiction over M&R work that takes place in the overall port area, Adam said. However, one of the suspected problems that has contributed to weeks of chassis shortages and dislocations in New York- New Jersey involves a large chassis backlog of equipment that has been tagged as "out of service" because of roadability issues. Truckers and others affected by the unusually large backlog of out-of-service chassis claim that dockworkers are look - ing for the slightest defects in order to red-tag chassis because they believe some companies are performing M&R at off-site locations in order to circumvent the ILA. Adam doesn't agree with that theory, say- ing the leasing companies may be contributing to the problem by being especially scrupulous in requiring that defects be addressed when- ever and wherever they are detected. Waterfront employers in New York-New Jersey say a number of factors are contrib- uting to the chassis shortages, including foul weather in the Northeast and Mid- west, a hesitance among chassis providers to authorize repairs as they seek to reduce M&R costs and operational issues at some marine terminals. JOC Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at and follow him at A NEW SKIRMISH has broken out in a joint employer-union lawsuit challenging the Waterfront Commission of New York Har- bor's revised rules for hiring dockworkers in the Port of New York and New Jersey. The Waterfront Commission says the latest version of the lawsuit by the New York Shipping Association and the Inter- national Longshoremen's Association misrepresents the commission's stance on hiring new workers. In an unusual move, the commission threatened to seek court sanctions that could include payment of legal costs for filing a "friv- olous" claim. The NYSA and ILA insist they haven't misrepresented anything. They say they're challenging what they describe as a vague commission order on its plans for approving new hiring. The squabble is a sidelight to a bitter legal fight between the commission, created in 1953 to combat crime on the docks, and the NYSA, the ILA and the Metropolitan Marine Main- tenance Contractors Association. The NYSA, the ILA and the Metro asso- ciation have asked a federal court in Newark, N.J., to block the commission's new hiring rules. The commission has asked U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton to dismiss the case. A ruling isn't expected before March. The Waterfront Commission says it wants to make the port work force more diverse, and that it has the authority to enforce equal opportunity hiring. The commission's pro- posed changes would reduce the ILA's role in referring prospective workers for employers to screen and recommend for the commission's background checks and licensing. Employers and the ILA say the port's longshore work force already is diverse, with portwide minority representation of more than one-third. They contend the commis- sion is exceeding its authority and illegally interfering with their local collective bar- gaining agreement. The industry-commission standoff has complicated the hiring of dockworkers needed to ease labor shortages that have plagued the New York-New Jersey port for months. The Waterfront Commission's threat to seek court sanctions against the NYSA and ILA stems from the commission's Dec. 3 action on a NYSA-ILA request for permission to hire 682 new ILA members — 532 longshoremen and 150 clerks. The commission's order authorized the immediate addition of 150 longshoremen and 75 clerks, with the balance of the longshore- men and an unspecified number of checkers to be added later "in light of the expected April 2014 retirements. The NYSA and ILA were pleased that the commission authorized new hires, but want assurances that all 682 dockworkers will be added. Donato Caruso, attorney for the NYSA, and Kevin Marrinan, attorney for the ILA, said that if the commission unambiguously commits to allowing all 682 workers, they'd withdraw the disputed count from the lawsuit and declare the issue moot. "The commission's determination must be unambiguous, final and complete," Caruso and Marrinan said in a letter to the commis- sion. "Every time the industry believes that it has reached an agreement with the commis- sion concerning the hiring of new workers, the commission's concurrence vanishes or becomes subject to additional conditions." Most of the requested new hires would replace workers who have left the work force in the last six years or are scheduled to retire

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