The report said shipping companies paid salaries that exceeded $400,000 for jobs that “require little or no work.”
Unlike workers at other ports, those on the docks in the New York area operate in gangs that are much bigger than needed, the report said. Three dockworkers are paid to operate each crane, although only one can work at a time. The work rules result in many workers’ being paid for 24 hours per day and, in some cases, as many as 27 hours within one day.
The commission concluded that the ability of the New York area’s ports to compete for cargo shipments is threatened by the pervasive influence of organized-crime families and the perverse work rules the longshoremen’s union has maintained.
The report also focused on the union’s employment of so many relatives of organized crime figures, most notably Vincent Gigante, the deceased head of the Genovese crime family, who was known as the Chin. One of Mr. Gigante’s nephews, Ralph, is a shop steward for one of the longshoremen’s union locals, a job that has paid him $400,000 a year or more. Ralph is one of nine of Mr. Gigante’s relatives working for the union, the report said.
Two of Mr. Gigante’s sons-in-law, Joseph Colonna and Robert Fyfe Jr., are shop stewards for the same local as Ralph Gigante is, according to the commission. Mr. Colonna succeeded Mr. Gigante’s brother-in-law, John Bullaro, and was paid about $400,000 in 2009, the report says.
When asked in November 2010 how that came to be, James Devine, the president of N.Y.C.T., a large terminal operator, gave a simple answer: “Influence,” he testified.
While the commissioners say there is annual pay of more than $400,000 for shop stewards who have no clearly defined duties, Mr. Daggett testified to the contrary. He said the stewards worked 24 hours a day to ensure that there were no labor problems in the port. And, he added, $400,000 was “not a lot of money today.”