Tuesday, August 1, 2017

'Can't you see I'm working here?' On the Job - Sort Of: Dock 'workers?


District Court case highlights off-contract labor deals that drive up port costs.

File this under “maybe I’m in the wrong line of work.” 

The attorney for a New Jersey longshoreman charged with fraudulently collecting round-the-clock pay of nearly $500,000 a year said his defense will be that the dockworker was not required to show up for a regular work day, only to be “on call." The case in Newark’s US District Court highlights a web of off-contract side deals that provide a group of International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) workers at the Port of New York and New Jersey with 24-hour, 365-day hourly pay, most of it at overtime rates. 

Paul Moe Sr., a Local 1804-1 member and general foreman in the rubber-tired gantry department at APM Terminals, was charged with using false time sheets to collect more than $9,000 a week in round-the-clock pay while showing up infrequently, usually for three hours or less, reported the Journal of Commerce. He continued to collect his pay even during trips to Aruba and Florida.

Moe is one of a number of ILA members with off-contract agreements, unique to the East Coast’s largest port, that pay them whenever their terminal, container yard, or work gang is operating. The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor said such deals pay workers more than $140 million a year for hours they don’t work. 

Waterfront Commission hearings in 2010 highlighted no-show and “low-show” jobs that paid ILA shop stewards and timekeepers for 24 to 27 hours per day, resulting in annual pay of over $400,000 for a handful of workers. Commission officials said these lucrative jobs were awarded to a “privileged few,” some with family ties.

According to the commission, New York-New Jersey’s port labor costs are driven up by the side deals guaranteeing 24/7 pay, and by other longstanding pay and work practices, including a unique “continuous operation” system that keeps dockworkers on the job until they finish working a ship. Over 60 percent of the NY-NJ port hours worked are paid at overtime rates.


The attack on Maersk, one of the largest transportation companies, highlights the importance of cyber security to avoid becoming a victim. As a basic step, employees dealing with shipping - or, really, anything - can be warned once again not to open any email attachments if they are not 100 percent sure of the source.


Kirk Shearer
President
TOTALogistix
800-989-0054 x103

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