As many as 1,000 jobs could become available in the next few years at the Port of New York and New Jersey, and two labor unions have vowed to give preferential hiring to veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The New York Shipping Association represents carriers and marine terminal operators at the port that employs members of the International Longshoremen’s Association for cargo handling and other jobs. The jobs that could open up in the next few years would become available through growth, attrition and retirement.
It was President Barack Obama‘s announcement in October that 40,000 troops would be returning from Iraq by the end of the year that inspired the unions to make this commitment.
“The ILA agrees with President Obama that veterans shouldn’t have to fight for jobs once they’ve come home from the fight overseas,” said ILA President Harold Daggett in a news announcement. “As a Vietnam veteran, I am proud and grateful that our employers, and the members of the New York Shipping Association, have joined us to offer hope and a job to our brave American soldiers.”
The NYSA and the ILA plan to reach out to veterans’ groups, members of Congress and local union leaders to see how they can best identify returning veterans and put them to work as jobs become available.
“The NYSA cannot think of a stronger, more diverse group than U.S. veterans to join our work force here in the Port of New York and New Jersey,” said NYSA President Joseph Curto in prepared remarks. “Hiring these individuals who have shown their discipline and dedication to our country is good business. These returning soldiers have the training and skills that will make them assets to our waterfront industry.”
The International Longshoremen’s Association is based in North Bergen and represents about 3,500 waterfront workers. The Edison-based NYSA represents 48 companies, including many of the world’s largest shipping firms.