Could Phil Murphy’s Decision to Disband Waterfront Commission Allow the Mob to Regain Control of NJ’s Ports?

by Tom Lavecchia
newark nj port

In 2023, Governor Phil Murphy’s decision to disband the Waterfront Commission potentially allowed organized crime to regain control over New Jersey’s ports and the dockworkers’ union, as reported by the New York Post. This move compromised port security and posed a threat to fair employment practices that the commission had long upheld.

Governor Kathy Hochul of New York, responding to Murphy’s action, successfully pushed for the approval of a New York-specific commission aimed at combating organized crime in waterfront areas. However, her achievement faced constraints due to pressures from unions, particularly the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA).

The newly approved commission marks a crucial step in safeguarding the Port of New York from organized crime infiltration. It will conduct background checks and issue licenses to individuals and companies operating within the shipping industry at the New York port.

To accommodate the concerns of the ILA, concessions were made, requiring the commission to collaborate closely with employers and unions during regulatory reviews. Additionally, it is prohibited from suspending port workers associated with known criminals without clear illegal intent.

Critics fear that union influence might compromise the commission’s effectiveness, potentially leading to a resurgence of organized crime dominance in New York’s waterfront. Governor Murphy’s actions in New Jersey serve as a cautionary tale, highlighting the importance of vigilant oversight in maintaining port security. This development also raises questions about the perceived decline of organized crime, with some suggesting that this move could provide a lifeline for its resurgence.

About the Author/s

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Tom is a lifelong New Jersey resident, Rutgers and FDU alumni and the publisher of The Digest.

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