In an effort to keep cargo moving in the Port of New York and New Jersey and to provide hundreds of new jobs to area residents, including United States Veterans, New York Shipping Association, Inc. (NYSA) and the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO (ILA) today filed a complaint in Federal Court in New Jersey against the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor for interfering in the collectively bargained hiring process between management and labor.

“We want to keep our Port of New York and New Jersey the greatest port on the East Coast and NYSA and ILA needs to move forward enacting the terms of our negotiated contract,” said ILA President Harold J. Daggett. “One constant obstruction to our efforts to achieve our goal of productivity and growth has been the harmful and unlawful interference by the Waterfront Commission.”

Notwithstanding the significant efforts put forth by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey leaders to foster an understanding and potential agreement between NYSA, the ILA and the Waterfront Commission, the parties were unable to reach a suitable solution to their differences and now must look to the courts for help.

“We have a collective bargaining agreement and a hiring plan that we are urgently trying to implement. Despite our sincere wishes to move in a positive and proactive manner, and despite the fact that we have proven that the ILA in NY&NJ is in fact already a diverse workforce which our hiring plan will further enhance, the Waterfront Commission’s leadership wants to involve itself in matters for which it has no authority,” said John Nardi, President ofthe NYSA. Nardi also noted that to ensure the port labor needs are met, “the NYSA will continue to send candidates to the Waterfront Commission so that they can do their background checks, licensing and registering function as they have always done.”

The Complaint seeks to enjoin the Commission’s interference with the industry’s efforts to hire new deep-sea longshoremen and “A” registrant mechanics. The plaintiffs in the action are NYSA, the Metropolitan Marine Maintenance Contractors Association, the ILA, Local 1804-1, and Local 1814.

“The Commission’s interference with collective bargaining is expressly prohibited by the very Compact which created them, yet they revise their rules to contradict lawful hiring practices ofthe CBA like it is right and just,” said ILA President Harold Daggett.

Summarizing their frustration and disappointment with the situation, Nardi stated, “At this point the Waterfront Commission is totally delaying our ability to hire mechanics and clerical workers.”

“By repeatedly acting beyond its legal mandate, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor has wrongfully interfered with the practices and procedures agreed upon by the New York Shipping Association and International Longshoreman’s Association, impermissibly thwarting our collective bargaining rights protected by the Labor Management Relations Act,” Daggett further explained.