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Waterfront Commission of v. Sea Land Service Inc.

June 13, 1985

WATERFRONT COMMISSION OF NEW YORK HARBOR ON BEHALF OF ITSELF AND OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
v.
SEA LAND SERVICE, INC., APPELLANT IN NO. 84-5526; SEAFARERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, ATLANTIC GULF, LAKES AND INLAND WATERS DISTRICT AFL-CIO, DEFENDANT-INTERVENOR AND APPELLANT IN NO. 84-5527, DISTRICT NO. 1 -- PACIFIC COAST DISTRICT MARINE ENGINEERS' BENEFICIAL ASSOCIATION, AFL-CIO, DEFENDANT INTERVENOR



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (C.A. No. 82-1670).

Adams, Weis and Wisdom*fn* , Circuit Judges.

Author: Adams

Opinion OF THE COURT

ADAMS, Circuit Judge.

This Appeal involves an Apparent conflict between the collective bargaining rights of waterfront employees and the registration and licensing requirements of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor (Commission). The Commission sought and eventually obtained an injunction in district court compelling registration of certain waterfront workers. The workers' employer and union representatives, defendants in the law suit, opposed the injunction on the ground that it would interfere with their collective bargaining rights. Because we conclude that the registration provisions by their terms require reconciliation with certain aspects of existing collective bargaining agreements, the case will be remanded to the district court for Appropriate amendments to the injunctive order. With these amendments, we have endeavored to resolve the conflict by ensuring that the Commission is able to exercise its supervisory authority and that the union's collectively - bargained hiring procedures are maintained.

I

The Commission was created in 1953 by a New York - New Jersey bi-state compact entitled the Waterfront Commission Compact (Compact). See N.H. Stat. Ann. § 32:23-1 et seq. (West 1963); N.Y. Unconsol. Laws § 9801 et seq. (McKinney 1974). The Compact empowers the Commission to license, register and regulate a wide range of waterfront employees, including, interalia, pier superintendents and longshoremen. It was designed to deal with widespread corruption and crime on the waterfront. The Compact established a regulatory scheme including the following provisions:

(1) Registration of Longshoremen. The Commission was required to set up a longshoremen's register, and only registered persons were allowed to be longshoremen. The right to register was to be absolute, unless an individual was convicted of a crime, engaged in subversive activity, or his employment would be likely to endanger the public safety. Senate Comm. on Interstate & Foreign Commerce, New Jersey-New York Waterfront Commission Compact, S. Rep. No. 583 at 3, 83d Cong., 1st Sess. (1953); House Comm. on the Judiciary, New Jersey-New York Waterfront Commission Compact, H. R. Rep. No. 997 at 7, 83d Cong., 1st Sess. (1953).

(b) Employment Information Centers. These were to be established to eliminate abusive hiring practices. They were intended to be a neutral conduit between employees and employers [employers], and according to the legislative history, were not to interfere with collective bargaining agreements. H. R. Rep. No. 998 at 7; S. Rep. No. 583 at 3.

(c) Collective Bargaining Rights. Article XV of the Compact states that it "is not designed and shall not be construed to limit in any way" any rights to organize, strike, or bargain collectively. Specifically, it guarantees that hiring procedures will not be displaced where they comport with the Compact.*fn1

In this action the Commission seeks to extend its regulatory jurisdiction to Approximately twenty crane maintenance workers employed by defendant Sea-Land Service, Inc. (Sea-Land). The workers' unions -- Seafarers International Union of North America, Atlantic, Gulf, Lake & Inland Water District, AFL-CIO (SIU), which represents Sea-Land's crane maintenance electricians; and District No. 1-Pacific Coast District, Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association, AFL-CIO (MEBA), which represents Sea-Land's port engineers -- intervened as defendants in the case.*fn2 The Commission's complaint alleged that under the terms of the Act, Sea-Land's crane maintenance electricians (CME's) were "longshoremen," and Sea-Land's port engineers constituted "pier superintendents." Accordingly, these employees were alleged to be subject to certain registration and licensing requirements.

After extensive discovery, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Commission. The district court first determined that the crane maintenance electricians and port engineers were covered by the terms of the Compact. Turning th Sea-Land's claim that registration and licensing would conflict with federal labor law, the court concluded that such conflicts were "factually unfounded," because the Commission had made several concessions in the course of litigation that, in the court's view, ensured the continuing validity of the existing unions.*fn3

The district court observed that the Commission had agreed to respect the present employer-union relationships in a number of ways: (1) it would "grandfather" in Sea-land's present CMEs and port engineers (assuming nothing in their records was disqualifying), thereby allowing present employees to be registered and keep their jobs; (2) it would allow Sea-Land to require its new Applicants to fill certain qualifications set out in the collective bargaining agreement, insofar as such qualifications were bona fide; (3) it would not oppose SIU or Sea-Land if either insisted that new employees hired from the closed register join SIU within 31 days after being hired as a condition of continued employment; and (4) it would not enforce against Sea-land's SIU employees any ILA seniority provisions.

As an independent ground, the district court concluded that there was no preemption problem, inasmuch as the Waterfront Commission Compact was Approved by Congress. it issued the ...


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