The mob – exiled from various other industries – effectively sees the port as the last realm in which it can exert a dominant influence.
The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor was created in 1953 to investigate, deter, combat and remedy criminal activity and influence in the port and to ensure fair hiring and employment practices.
Two weeks ago, Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, introduced a bill to abolish the commission, eliminating its key powers – which included ensuring a diverse workforce – and transferring its responsibilities to the Port Authority. A second bill was introduced by the senator establishing gubernatorial oversight of the commission.
The proposed measures are premised on the simplistic notion that changes in the industry have obviated the need to drive out organized crime influence. The legislation suggests that the commission is justifying its own existence through fear-mongering and that it has become an impediment to future job growth and prosperity at the port.
If passed, this legislation will effectively ensure that the Cosa Nostra families will continue to exert criminal control over the waterfront.