The New York Shipping Association and International Longshoremen’s Association have begun referrals for pre-clearance of candidates for New York-New Jersey dockworker jobs that will open up during the next few months.
NYSA President John Nardi said the referrals are for replacement of about 300 dockworkers who have applied for early retirement under the new contract, and for a to-be-determined number of new workers to be hired in a planned expansion of the port’s ILA work force.
The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor controls the size of the port’s ILA work force and conducts criminal background checks and licensing of dockworkers.
Nardi said employers are in the final stages of deciding how many additional slots to ask the commission to approve above the 3,250 workers currently covered under the NYSA-ILA contract.
“We expect to decide on that within the next week or week-and-a-half,” he said.
In the meantime, the NYSA and ILA have started the hiring process by referring candidates to the commission for pre-clearance. The new ILA-NYSA contract calls for military veterans to fill 51 percent of the jobs.
Vacation-season labor shortages have been blamed for aggravating this summer’s severe operational delays at the port’s container terminals. Employers hope the work force expansion will head off similar crises in the future.
The 300 New York-New Jersey dockworkers who opted for early retirement under the new contract must stay on until their replacements are recruited, hired, and trained. The NYSA has set an April target for completion of that process.