Talks continue on adding NY/NJ longshoremen
Three-way talks about adding dockworkers in the Port of New York and New Jersey continued Thursday.
Representatives from the New York Shipping Association (NYSA), Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey met and issued a terse statement that said "there was continued progress on port-hiring issues" and that hearings the Waterfront Commission has scheduled on the issue would be postponed from Nov. 18 until Nov. 25.
International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), the union that represents dock workers, and NYSA made a request in September to add 532 longshore employees and 150 checker/clerks to the port to alleviate
labor shortages and to replace 300 longshoremen who are expected to
retire early next year. In a new contract signed earlier this year, the ILA and NYSA offered incentives for some older ILA members to retire.
ILA and NYSA have since complained about what they see as "the slow-moving bureaucratic pace" of the Waterfront Commission in deciding whether to expand the number of workers in the port. The commission regulates the number of workers on the docks in the bi-state port, does background checks, and investigates crime and corruption. It is independent from the port authority.
John Nardi, president of the NYSA, said a delay in hiring could "have a severe impact on cargo flow and a resultant negative economic impact."
Last week, Eward Wytkind, the president of the AFL-CIO's Transportation Trades Department, wrote a letter to Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey in which he urged them to prevent the Waterfront Commission from "interfering in the implementation of the collective bargaining agreement" between the ILA and NYSA.
In addition to looking at whether there should be an increase in the number of longshoremen who work under the contract between the ILA and NYSA, the Waterfront Commission 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, but have a contract with another organization, the Metropolitan Marine Maintenance Contractors Association, and are represented by ILA locals that include 1804-1, formerly headed by the ILA International President Harold Daggett and now head by his son, Dennis Daggett.
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