Labor Pains

From “The Patriot Ledger” (, August 9, 2006.

“BOSTON (AP) — Twenty people have been indicted as part of a widespread investigation into allegations of payroll and unemployment fraud involving the Boston longshoremen’s union, including five workers who put children as young as 2 on the payroll, prosecutors said Wednesday. Those indicted included 19 current and former longshoremen, as well as an employee of the Massachusetts Port Authority. The longshoremen worked at the Conley Container terminal in South Boston and are members of the International Longshoremen’s Association.

“In one of the alleged schemes, five workers are accused of filing time sheets for sons and daughters while they were children so they could gain union cards and then accrue higher union wages when they reached adulthood and started working on the docks.

“Longshoremen handle shipping containers, cargo, supplies and baggage from freight and cruise ships and barges. Anywhere from 50 to 100 longshoremen work on the docks at the Conley Terminal and the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal at any given time. Wages start at $ 16 per hour but climb to $ 28 per hour for senior workers.

“‘A culture of fraud exists in the Longshoreman’s union at the Port of Boston,’ Attorney General Tom Reilly said during a news conference.

“James McNamara, a spokesman for the International Longshoremen’s Association, said the union hasn’t received the indictments and he couldn’t comment on them directly, but added that the union encourages ethical practices and offered to help prosecutors when Reilly unveiled the investigation last year.

“Thomas Kinton, Massport’s CEO and executive director, said the allegations, if proven, ‘are not only crimes against fellow workers and Massport, but also a fraud against the public.’

“In two other alleged schemes outlined by Reilly:
– Employees who had reached the maximum number of hours needed to accrue benefits shifted credit for additional hours to other employees so they could receive vacation time and health benefits sooner.
– Three employees received unemployment benefits when they could have been working – or were still working as longshoremen …”

Mr. Arena, of MSC, pegged this back in April of 2004. “We’ve been a very strong supporter of the Port of Boston, but we can’t avoid noticing that labor in Boston is anchored to some old schemes that are unrealistic in today’s world. Boston is definitely the most expensive port in the U.S.”

[Note: Our patented system’s 4% union incentive would have precluded such unethical practices.]