New York Harbor’s Union Gougers Win Again

On the Water Front's Johnny Friendly
Criminal control over New York Harbor’s docks, epitomized in the public imagination by On the Waterfront’s Johnny Friendly, remains a costly scourge. But politicians like Gov. Phil Murphy (inset) simply look the other way. (Credit: Columbia Pictures Corporation; Credit: Raimond Spekking/Wikimedia Commons)

Bipartisan Cabal in Trenton Terminates Crime-Fighting Commission

“The Waterfront Commission will soon be . . . dumped into the Newark Bay, where it will sleep with the fishes — because this is what the governor, his legislative collaborators, and his union supporters from the International Longshoremen’s Association have sought for many years.”

So began a scathing April 24 editorial for the New Jersey Star-Ledger, the Garden State’s largest newspaper, regarding a U.S. Supreme Court victory Big Labor Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy and his ILA union cohorts had putatively just scored over the state of New York.

The truth is that the win chalked up by Mr. Murphy, with ample aid from former Republican governor and 2024 presidential hopeful Chris Christie, was won at the expense first and foremost of dockworkers who would prefer not to have to associate with scammers in order to earn a living.

Big Labor Cronies Rake in Exorbitant Salaries While Doing Little if Any Work

On April 18, a 9-0 High Court ruled that, as a matter of law, New Jersey politicians had the right to shut down, without their New York counterparts’ acquiescence, the Waterfront Commission the two states jointly established in 1953 in response to public outrage over rampant New York Harbor criminality.

“As a matter of contract law, the unanimous decision upholding New Jersey officials’ prerogative to abolish the Waterfront Commission unilaterally was relatively uncontroversial,” acknowledged Greg Mourad, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee.

“But the practical consequences of New York v. New Jersey,” added Mr. Mourad, “even if it is legally correct, will undoubtedly be profoundly negative for dockworkers who want to compete on as level a playing field as possible for the most desirable port jobs.

“The reality is that the Waterfront Commission has been only somewhat effective at stopping ILA union bigwigs from exploiting the tight control they wield over who is hired at New York Harbor ports to reward their cronies. And these cronies often turn out to be their own friends and relatives and/or people with close ties to crime families.

“On the one hand, ILA President Harold Daggett, who himself has been said to owe his union office to the support of Organized Crime, complains bitterly about commissioners’ rejection in recent years of roughly one in five union boss-recommended job applicants because of their alleged connections to mobsters.

“On the other hand, according to the commission’s most recent annual report, issued in 2020, there are now more than 300 specially favored workers in New York Harbor ports who are earning more than $300,000 apiece per year.

“A number of these are ‘workers’ who apparently do little or no work. For example, in 2018 an ILA-boss confederate named Paul Moe Sr. was convicted and sentenced to prison for fraudulently raking in $500,000 a year in wages. And, as a recent news analysis by journalist Tom Robbins explained, ‘Evidence at trial showed’ that Mr. Moe had shown up for work ‘as little as eight hours a week’ while his associates submitted ‘false timesheets on his behalf, including up to 16 hours a day of overtime.’”

Seasoned observers like former Waterfront Commissioner Ron Goldstock expect ILA bosses’ abuse of their monopolistic legal privileges to get much worse as New York Harbor oversight is shifted back to the same law enforcement departments that let the ports’ criminals run rampant during the 1940’s and early 1950’s.

‘Mob Tax’ on Consumers Poised to Skyrocket After Murphy-Christie Triumph

According to Mr. Goldstock, “The union will fill most vacancies with its own people; it will force terminal operators to pay for no-show, low-show jobs with exorbitant salaries,” and “the cost of goods will increase because of a mob tax.”

None of this appears to bother Mr. Murphy, or Mr. Christie, who at one time opposed terminating the Waterfront Commission, but flip-flopped in 2018, giving a major boost to ILA bosses’ eventually successful bid to kill the watchdog.

“The only thing that seems to matter to Phil Murphy and Chris Christie is the enormous power the union political machine wields as a consequence of

Big Labor’s forced-dues and monopoly-bargaining privileges. The demise of the Waterfront Commission is yet another example of the corrupting impact on politicians of compulsory unionism,” concluded Mr. Mourad.

This article was originally published in our monthly newsletter. Go here to access previous newsletter posts.

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