Statement from the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1588 On the One Year Anniversary of When New Jersey was Supposed to Exit the Waterfront Commission

Statement from the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1588 On the One Year Anniversary of When New Jersey was Supposed to Exit the Waterfront Commission


Bayonne, New Jersey – Virgil Maldonado, President of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1588, released the following statement on the one-year anniversary of Governor Murphy’s announcement that New Jersey would leave the Waterfront Commission on March 28, 2022:


“Today, March 28, 2023, marks the one-year anniversary of when New Jersey was supposed to exit the outdated Waterfront Commission. Yet one year later, we are still under the Waterfront Commission’s control. As a result of this inaction, the ILA Local 1588 has lost significant time that could have been spent moving New Jersey’s shipping industry into the future.


Each day, our members bravely work on the docks to ensure that ships come and go safely, and commerce continues to flow smoothly. Over the last year, the Waterfront Commission has continued to take every opportunity to stand in our way by stifling hiring and negatively impacting economic growth.


While our members are working to advance the shipping industry and exceed 21st Century standards, it is clear the Waterfront Commission is stuck in the past. Forcing New Jersey to remain in the out-of-touch Waterfront Commission means that our hardworking members have continued to be subjected to the Waterfront Commission’s archaic, outdated world view. We operate under rules that were created 70 years ago and no longer make sense in today’s modern shipping industry. Yet over the last year, the Waterfront Commission has continued to unfairly apply punishments in accordance with archaic rules that undermine the ability to do our job.


Each day that New Jersey remains in the Waterfront Commission, our members are negatively impacted by the commission’s kangaroo court. This “court” created by the Waterfront Commission consists of administrative law judges who are hired and paid for by the commission. While the Waterfront Commission has created an illusion of justice, the reality is, if the commission disagrees with the decision of one of its own judges, the commission can just overrule that decision. There is no one holding the Waterfront Commission accountable. How can justice ever be delivered by this organization?


One of the most stunning examples of injustice happened earlier this year when the Waterfront Commission unfairly revoked the license of an outstanding longshoreman: Assemblyman William Sampson IV. Assemblyman Sampson worked over 2,600 hours last year, which is more than the average dockworker. It is important to note that the Assemblyman was only paid for the hours he worked. It is also important to note that in most workplaces, attendance issues are a matter between employers and their employees. Unfortunately, that is not the case in the Waterfront Commission’s world.


Even though Assemblyman Sampson’s employer was thrilled with his work performance, the Waterfront Commission still revoked his license. While other members worked fewer hours last year compared to Assemblyman Sampson, their licenses remain intact.


In comparison, around the same time that the Waterfront Commission revoked Assemblyman Sampson’s license, the commission gave members with far worse offenses a slap on the wrist: in January, the commission only suspended a member for five days after he was arrested for assault and endangering the welfare of children.


New Jersey’s repeated attempts to leave the Waterfront Commission have been blocked, and now the Supreme Court is taking up the case. On behalf of all ILA Local 1588 members, I hope that the Supreme Court will allow New Jersey to leave the Waterfront Commission once and for all. We’ve already lost so much time and so many valuable members to the commission’s archaic world view, and we can’t afford to lose anymore.”

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