The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor is trying to get the dock workers' union to enlist more blacks and Hispanics to work at ports in New Jersey and New York, but they're finding that it's heavy lifting. Today the Times reports that the International Longshoremen’s Association, which has controlled the ports for decades, has defied orders to diversify. Ordered by the Commission to submit a diverse list of candidates for temporary jobs unloading baggage from cruise ships, the union came up with 37 candidates. 33 were were white men, none were Hispanic—and the only black candidate on the list "did not really want a job," according to the Commission.
So the Commission, which is trying to find jobs for residents in the mostly-minority neighborhoods around the ports, turned to work force centers to staff the seasonal workers. Unfortunately, the union president, Harold Daggett, was not to pleased about that, and according to the Times he described these workers as "garbage." The Commission, however, contends that the 246 potential employees found through the work-force centers were actually better qualified for the jobs than those the union nominated!
As for the union's candidates, about a third failed to pass physical exams, and several were disqualified because they had ties to organized crime. "I’ll admit that we didn’t do as good a job of screening as we should have," said Joseph Curto, president of the New York Shipping Association. Hey, whaddaya gonna do? The Commission, which is empowered by both states’ legislatures, was created by President Eisenhower to loosen the mob's grip on the Port of New York and New Jersey. In 2009, the Commission was rocked by scandal when Inspector General Joseph Fisch found "a total agency breakdown" and made numerous allegations of corruption.