An International Longshoremen’s Association local headed by one of ILA President Harold Daggett’s sons has bombarded four New Jersey container terminals with grievances alleging more than 300 safety violations.
The grievances by Local 1804-1 came a week after a dispute over crane safety interrupted work for several hours at Global Terminal, a Bayonne, N.J., container terminal whose plans for labor-saving technology have drawn ILA protests.
The Global incident followed an ILA safety inspector’s claim of hazards at the terminal’s six dockside cranes. James Devine, chief executive of Global’s parent company, GCT USA, said the ILA inspector was “unqualified” and an Occupational Health and Safety Administration inspector later declared the cranes “absolutely safe for operation.”
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Global filed a grievance against the ILA after the incident, which delayed a Hapag-Lloyd ship for several hours and generated added costs for night-shift work.
The ILA grievances this week were submitted to the New York Shipping Association on behalf of Local 1804-1, the maintenance-repair local formerly headed by Harold Daggett and now led by Dennis Daggett, who previously was the international union’s safety director. Dennis Daggett is also president of the ILA’s Atlantic Coast District.
The grievances alleged issues ranging from excessive truck speeds to faded pavement paint stripes at Global, Maher Terminals, APM Terminals and Port Newark Container Terminal. The port’s other major terminal, New York Container Terminal on Staten Island, is outside Local 1804-1’s jurisdiction.
Dennis Daggett said the grievances reflect the union’s renewed emphasis on safety following the deaths of 15 ILA dockworkers in accidents during the last four years. He said the grievances were not filed in retaliation for the Global dispute, and that the timing was coincidental. “These are two separate issues,” Dennis Daggett said.
The mass filing of grievances was highly unusual, said Joseph Curto, president of the New York Shipping Association. “We usually don’t receive alleged violations in this quantity or this manner,” he said.
Curto encouraged the ILA and terminals to address the issues through normal grievance procedures starting with direct employers. “I believe the employers and the union will follow the contract procedures, and many of these things can be corrected fairly easily,” he said.
The ILA and United States Maritime Alliance are preparing to open negotiations this spring on a coast-wide master contract. The current agreement expires Sept. 30.
Harold Daggett said this week that the ILA will seek guaranteed minimum staffing and protection against job cuts from labor-saving technology. “We know technology is coming and we know we can’t stop it forever, but we will not be deterred from protecting our work and our jurisdiction,” he said.
Contact Joseph Bonney at firstname.lastname@example.org.