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NY Ports Chief Calls Docks Bastions of Discrimination, Vows Action

Friday, February 24, 2012

The head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey wants to use the agency's clout as landlord to get more dock workers of color hired.

Patrick Foye said, "I regret having to say it, but the docks at our ports on both the New York and New Jersey side appear to be one of the last bastions in the region of what can only be described as  deliberate racial and gender discrimination."

He said that dock workers are approximately 85 percent white and over 90 percent male, citing statistics from the Waterfront Commission. "This is not acceptable," Foye told union members and academics gathered for an NYU event about low pay rates for airport workers Wednesday.

Foye also called the racial and gender homogeneity of dock workers, "inexcusable inertia with respect to fair and diverse hiring." The PA head, who is took his post in November, promised strong action. The Port Authority owns the docks and leases the property to freight shipping and other companies.

"I intend to use every tool at our disposal," he said, "including leases with new customers, lease extensions and modifications with our existing customers, and most importantly, conditioning the Port Authority's future investments of billions of dollars in improvements on first reaching acceptable, concrete and enforceable, diversity hiring plans."

The International Longshoremen's Association, the union representing workers at the port of New York and New Jersey, controls hiring for new dock workers. At hearings last year, the ILA argued that they could not find sufficient non-white candidates for stevedore positions. The ILA did not return TN's requests for comment.

For more on this issue, visit Transportationnation.org.

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Comments [3]

Charles Risher from Brick City NJ

I applaud Mr Foye as well but as a trucker in those same piers that he speaks of I will believe it when I no longer see it. I have stories or nightmares about those piers. The racism the utter and blatant disrespect, ego and sense of entitlement that prevails down there and I dare any longshoreman or shipping a**hole to disagree. There are some good guys down there but the majority are nepotised lazy jerks who would definitely sing a different song in life if they had any accountability for anything they earn or do. I am 38 years old and may never have a opportunity to learn, work, educate, or support my family through that place. I personally think longshoreman anti American worst than the terrorist.

Dec. 30 2012 12:01 AM
Ken from Bronx

"Dock workers of color." What a moronic phrase to try to praise non-whites and demean whites as colorless people.

Feb. 26 2012 04:59 PM
Bobby Johnson

I have to applaud Patrick Foye for his unwavering willingness to speak out on the ongoing, "decades-old" biased antics taking place within the International Longshoremens Association in New York & New Jersey and miscellaneous companies doing business with the port(s). I had to move from New York to Georgia in 2001 because the I.L.A. and EVERY company doing business at the NY/NJ ports was so unwilling to employ dock workers of color. I often thought I was still living in the 1950's and 1960's while I was up there! However, in Savannah & Brunswick, Georgia, I have worked in every capacity imaginable--from a casual laborer aboard cruise and cargo container & RORO ships to moving up and serving as a stevedore, ship agent and a superintendent for various companies, where I have not only performed VERY well, but have witnessed other people of color do the same (and better) in upper management capacities. In fact, I have watched people like myself get better results from the labor workers because they can personally relate to me having started at the bottom and worked ones' way up within the system. Seeing me (and others like me) do so has given such labor workers "pride"...which has allowed me to get workers to go the extra mile in their work duties and in resolving issues on the docks. THAT "relationship/rapport" is something the I.L.A. and other companies doing business with the ports fails to understand. Then again, maybe that's why Southern seaports and airports (such as the Port of Savannah, Port of Brunswick, Port of Charleston, Port of Jacksonville, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and a few other southern seaports/airports) have continued to progress tremendously over the last 10-20 years while other Northern airports/seaports have remained stagnant. "It is the thinking of human beings that hold them back."

Feb. 26 2012 04:53 PM

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