Port Operations and Labor
Labor Hiring System
The labor hiring system underwent changes and was upgraded in February of 2013. This system has streamlined many of the hiring processes. One of the most important advantages of the system is the reporting capabilities it provides. The data is stored and readily available to provide vital statistical information that can be used to analyze hiring patterns, labor demand, and shortages. This information was also utilized to determine and validate the port’s labor needs that were the basis of the request submitted to the Waterfront Commission for approval in September, 2013.
The system’s platform is extremely adaptable and has us well positioned to support future initiatives, many of which are part of the 6 year collective bargaining agreement such as relief gangs and weekend hiring.
One of the key components of the collective bargaining agreement is the collaborative focus on improving port productivity. The ILA is committed to working with management to steadily improve marine productivity in particular, over the course of the 6 year agreement. One of the key components of this effort is the formulation of productivity committees. These committees are a 2 layered approach. There are grassroot committees at the terminal level where the strategies and focus particular to the individual terminals themselves are formulated, agreed to and progress is tracked.
There is also a port wide productivity steering committee which is comprised of key labor officials, senior terminal managers, NYSA executives and representatives of the carriers. This committee oversees the process, sets the guiding policies and principles and assists with any roadblocks that may arise at the terminal level. The success of this effort is vital to the future of the port and the commitment of our labor associates as exhibited by their agreement to making this a key element of the collective bargaining agreement is evidence in itself that we are in this together.
The absentee policy has been completely overhauled. The policy was developed with input from labor, the marine terminals and those involved directly in the hiring process. The policy is centered on the concept that employees now have a set number of allowable sick days to utilize with no penalty. Violations are tracked and those individuals who are not in compliance are subject to a set of progressive disciplinary actions. These actions are focused on forcing the individual to live up to their work responsibilities with no exceptions and the duration of the penalties increase if individuals repeatedly violate the policy.
Those who continue to violate the policy over a determined duration of time can ultimately face being removed from the work force permanently. The key to the policy’s effectiveness is to have enough people available to meet the work demands. The individuals who are in violation of the policy are required to be available to meet the intermittent labor needs that come about sporadically, which severely impact their work opportunities. They are no longer suspended from the workforce, which can further contribute to a shortage of available labor, but they are forced to work on an as needed basis. This limits their work opportunities and acts as a deterrent to future offenses.