I have not followed what happened with this pending legislation, which would
allow ease of hiring of dock workers. This open letter supporting legislation
was written in April of 2011. If anyone can give an update on this, please
leave a comment.
New York Shipping Association Inc.
333 Thornall Street, Suite 3A
Edison, New Jersey 08837
The Honorable Brian M. Kolb
NYS Assembly Minority Leader
933 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
The Honorable Dean G. Skelos
NYS Senate Majority Leader
909 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
The Honorable Sheldon Silver
NYS Assembly Speaker
932 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
The Honorable John Sampson
NYS Senate Minority Leader
409 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 1224
Dear Governor Cuomo and New York State Senate and Assembly Members:
You will soon have before you for consideration Bills S-4668 (Lanza/Hassell-Thompson) and A-7155 (Cusick/Farrell) which seek to cure a serious flaw in the Waterfront
Commission Act. This flaw impedes the ability of employers to recruit and hire new employees who are necessary to sustain and grow the business of cargo handling, which
is so vital to the economic well-being of our region.
This legislation is NOT an attempt to eliminate the role or necessity of the Waterfront Commission; but it is a rather prudent and responsible action which ensures port
employers will have a sufficient number of employees when they need them – not when an agency which has no economic investment in the management of the port or its
activities decides they are warranted.
S-4668 and A-7155 are intended to repeal Section 5-p of the Waterfront Commission Act, N.Y. Unconsol. Laws § 9920 (McKinney 2002), in the New York State legislature.
Section 5-p was enacted in 1966 in response to a provision in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the New York Shipping Association and the ILA which provided
a Guaranteed Annual Income to workers displaced due to the introduction of new technology into the marine terminal environment. At that time, management and labor
agreed that keeping the register open did nothing to further our competitive position, and agreed that the “controlled register statute” made sense. Today, the Guaranteed
Annual Income program no longer exists and ironically, it is now the constraints placed on employers by the Waterfront Commission pursuant to Section 5-p that threatens
the competitiveness of the Port.
There are 361 ports in the United States and the Port of New York and New Jersey is the only port in the Nation where employers are denied their prerogative to determine
when to add skilled workers to their payrolls and when to replace workers lost through attrition, retirement, or illness. Currently the Commission must approve how many
workers can be hired and from where they must be recruited.
New York Shipping Association, Inc., on behalf of the port employers has repeatedly stated both privately and publicly that we strongly support the law enforcement, crime
fighting and licensing roles of the Commission. However, we who responsibly oversee the business of maritime commerce are better suited to determine the manpower level
necessary to maximize the economic contribution of the Port to the quality of life of the tens of millions of people who reside within our service area.
With the impending completion of the Panama Canal Expansion and the reconfiguration of the Bayonne Bridge, the Port of New York and New Jersey will be uniquely
positioned to handle significantly more import and export cargo. Ports all along the East Coast are preparing to compete for the increase in cargo coming directly to the East
Coast. We are hampered by an antiquated process for hiring longshore workers and are put in a competitive disadvantage. This antiquated process must be changed.
The State of New Jersey took legislative action in 2007 to amend Section 5-p, recognizing that the Waterfront Commission should not maintain a role as a commercial
market regulator long after the guaranteed annual income program has ended. The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest and most productive port complex on the
East Coast and supports more than 270,000 port related jobs in the northeast. The greater New York and New Jersey region must be permitted to reap the full benefit of
the economic engine that is the Port of New York and New Jersey. Amending Section 5-p will not alter the law enforcement, investigatory or licensing functions of the
We urge you to support the repeal of Section 5-p by voting in the affirmative on S-4668 and A-7155. More information about Section 5-p is available and we would be happy
to discuss this further with you in greater detail. Your support for this measure will demonstrate a commitment to a stronger economy for the State of New York.
Joseph C. Curto