Several longshore timekeepers at the Port of New York and New Jersey are paid for as much as 27 hours in a 24-hour day under agreements with employers, according to the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor.
Timekeepers were the focus of the third in a series of hearings the commission is holding to highlight what officials say are no-show and no-work jobs, favoritism in hiring and other practices that raise costs and invite organized-crime influence.
Commission attorney Paul Babchik testified that timekeepers – International Longshoremen’s Association clerks who tally and report dockworkers’ hours for companies’ payrolls – are paid under arrangements that vary among terminals. Timekeepers typically are paid whenever workers are on the job at a terminal.
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Babchik testified about sworn interviews he conducted with 16 of the 27 workers who perform timekeeping duties. He said some have agreements with employers that provide as much as 27 hours of pay, mostly at time-and-a-half overtime rates, in a 24-hour day.
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Paul Buglioli, head timekeeper at Ports America’s terminals in the port, testified he’s paid for 25 hours a day and earned $462,685 last year. Babchik identified 10 other timekeepers in the port who were paid over $200,000 last year, including hours they don’t work.
Buglioli said he and other timekeepers at Ports America terminals log in dockworkers for several shift starts per day, including weekends and holidays, and input their names and work codes for nearly 100 pay categories. “We only have four timekeepers … We should have about 10 timekeepers to do the work we’re doing,” he said.
Commissioner Ronald Goldstock asked whether more automation could reduce the workload. Buglioli said that decision is beyond his control.
The commission plans to hear next month from terminal operators and ILA officials. Management officials have noted that any changes to the port’s ILA contract would have to be negotiated with the union.
The hearings were scheduled by the commission in June, three months before New Jersey state Sen. Ray Lesniak introduced legislation to abolish the commission and transfer its police and licensing responsibilities to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Lesniak also has floated an alternate plan to give the governor veto power over commission actions. Either plan would have to be approved by both New York and New Jersey.
In introducing his legislation, Lesniak cited a New York State inspector general’s report that criticized the commission’s management and operations in 2007-2008. Since the report, the commission’s leadership and many of its top staffers have been replaced.
-- Contact Joseph Bonney at firstname.lastname@example.org.