The New York State Division of Human Rights filed a complaint accusing the International Longshoremen’s Association, three New York ILA locals, and the union’s employers of discrimination in hiring.
The complaint tracked criticism by the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, which has accused the ILA and NYSA of failing to pursue increased hiring of minorities and women to reflect surrounding areas.
“The ILA referral practices and the employer sponsorship system have caused a disproportionate number of minorities and women to be excluded from ILA membership and employment opportunities,” the human rights complaint said.
The anti-discrimination agency cited ILA locals 824 in Manhattan, 920 on Staten Island and 1814 in Brooklyn, saying their approximately 589 members were 78.6 percent white, 7.5 percent black, 12.7 percent Hispanic and 4.6 percent female.
The ILA and NYSA have previously defended their hiring practices. They note that the New York locals cited handle only 20 percent of the port’s cargo, and that the ILA’s racial breakdown for the entire port is close to that of the metropolitan area.
“The demographic mix of the longshore work force in the Port of New York and New Jersey reflects the socio-economic evolution of the surrounding communities,” NYSA President Joseph Curto said. “The New York Shipping Association is committed to maintaining diversity and is working to actively pursue a representative work force. We will vigorously respond to the New York State Division of Human Rights complaint.”
Patrick Foye, chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has threatened to use port authority leases to crack down on “deliberate discrimination” in hiring.