Digital Edition

Sept.19. 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 19 of 55

INTERNATIONAL MARITIME 20 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE SEPTEMBER 19.2016 that agency officials say encourages criminal activity. Much of this effort has focused on racial imbalances within ILA locals. The ILA and employers complained bit- terly when the commission began closely vetting job candidates hired under a 2013 contract earmarking 51 percent of new jobs for military veterans. Industry officials alleged illegal interference in collective bargaining issues. The ILA, NYSA, and MMMCA argued that racial discrimination wasn't mentioned in the congressionally approved compact that created the commission. The 3rd Cir- cuit, however, said the compact's legislative history showed that "the eradication of racial discrimination in hiring was one of the original purposes." "The commission's actions in requiring certification that prospective employees were selected in a nondiscriminatory man- ner certainly further the compact's purposes of rooting out corrupt hiring practices such as racial discrimination," the 3rd Circuit said. "Therefore, the commission's certifi- cation regulation cannot be viewed as an improper intrusion into appellants' collec- tive bargaining rights." Praising the court decision, the com- mission said the industry lawsuit was "just one more desperate attempt to attack the Waterfront Commission's efforts to ensure that hiring on the waterfront is done in a fair and non-discriminatory manner." NYSA President John Nardi had a dif- ferent view. "This case was not about fair hiring practices, as has been portrayed by the Waterfront Commission," he said. All U.S. entities, he added, must comply with anti-discrimination laws enforced by gov- ernment agencies. "This lawsuit was about the role and demands of the Waterfront Commission, when established government agencies with jurisdiction over fair employment laws already exist," he said. "The Port of New York and New Jersey operates in a high-cost region. Adding to this cost with duplicate levels of government oversight affects the port's ability to maintain its competitive edge in the market." Industry officials deny discrimination, and attribute racial imbalances to historical factors. They note that minority percentages in the port's overall longshore workforce are in line with those of the New York metro- politan area, and that minorities comprise 60 percent of the 900-plus workers added in the last three years. Because all employees at the port have been certified by the commission, the 3rd Circuit decision "should not have a signifi- cant effect" on hiring, Nardi said. The 2013 ILA-employer contract earmarks 51 percent of new hires for military veterans, with the balance divided between ILA and NYSA referrals, he noted. Previously, virtually all job referrals came through the ILA. Commission officials said the veterans provision was put into the contract only after the Waterfront Commission refused to approve new hires unless a fair hiring plan was in place. The commission also notes that the provision doesn't apply to mechanics, who still are hired through ILA referrals. Significantly, the 3rd Circuit said the Waterfront Commission's anti-discrimina- tion enforcement extends not only to ILA "deep-sea" longshore workers hired under the NYSA contract, but to mechanics hired by MMMCA companies. This interpretation could intensif y conflicts between the commission and the industry. Mechanics are represented by Local 1804-1, the home local of ILA Presi- dent Harold Daggett and his son Dennis, the local's president and the international union's executive vice president. Commission-industry relations already are test y. Last Jan. 29, ILA members idled the port in a one-day wildcat strike apparently directed at the Waterfront Commission. A subsequent industry inves- tigation prompted an angry reaction from Harold Daggett. Although their challenge of the Water- front Commission's authority has been working its way through the courts, the ILA and its employers have been lobbying for state legislation to clip the commission's wings. In New Jersey, where 85 percent of the port's cargo is handled, the union and employers are seeking again to pass legisla- tion that would remove New Jersey from the commission and transfer the agency's duties to the state police. Gov. Chris Christie vetoed last year. Commission officials say the legisla- tion would be unconstitutional. JOC Contact Joseph Bonney at and follow him on Twitter: @JosephBonney. Industry officials deny discrimination, and attribute racial imbalances to historical factors

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Digital Edition - Sept.19. 2016