Hiring and work practices at the Port of New York and New Jersey breed inefficiency, favor “a privileged few,” and invite organized-crime influence, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor said in a report.
The report summarized the results of hearings the commission held in late 2010 to publicize what it said was favoritism and highly paid, no-show or no-work jobs to a “privileged few that…are overwhelmingly connected to organized crime figures or union officials.”
The hearings highlighted International Longshoremen’s Association shop stewards and timekeepers paid more than $400,000 a year for up to 27 hours a day, and emphasized family or other connections between them and mobsters.
At the hearings, ILA President Harold Daggett defended the $400,000-plus salaries. Employers said many of the practices the commission cited dated back decades and would have to be addressed through collective bargaining.
The commission report recommended elimination of round-the-clock pay, and changes to require shop stewards to be elected by secret ballot, paid the same as co-workers, trained in responsibilities for representing union members.
Other recommendations included distribution of desirable positions based on seniority and merit, and changes to require check-in of workers in a manner “capable of being audited, which takes advantage of technology and does not highly compensate favored individuals for little or no work.”