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On this particular point, I am confident there has been a general misconception throughout the courts as well as among legislators as to just what is the work relationship between the stevedore and steamship company.
These views simply ignore reality. The steamship company and the stevedore are locked together in a common enterprise. The full cost of compensation insurance paid by the direct employer of labor is borne by the steamship company. One of the basic assumptions of compensation legislation was that the enterprise would be protected from unlimited liability in case of injuries to its employees,
A waterfront pier or terminal is, by any definition, a single, selfcontained enterprise. It exists for the sole purpose of servicing vessels, for loading and unloading of their cargo, for moving and storing cargo, and for making that cargo available to consignees or receiving cargo from shippers. The members of the traditional longshore gang spend all or most of their time on the vessel or adjacent to the vessel on the dock. This is their normal work environment.
If an injury occurs to any of these men in the course of their employment, it will invariably give rise to a claim that the vessel or its equipment or gear, is somehow at fault. Thus, every injury to a member of the longshore gang is a potential third-party claim, and his employer's immunity from suit in such cases is stripped away.
Third-party cases are of dubious benefit to the longshoremen themselves. They primarily benefit plaintiff's attorneys whose legal fees are a direct surcharge on our system and, more importantly, undermine the industry's ability to pay for compensation. They work against the interest of longshoremen and the industry that provides them with their livelihood. They tend to corrupt the morals of the good and well-meaning longshoremen.
For these reasons we respectfully urge the subcommittee to amend the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act to give recognition to the fact that the vessel owner is, in every sense of the word, a joint employer of the longshoremen who work its vessels. He is involved in a joint enterprise with the longshoreman's direct employer. He generates the revenue that pays for the longshoremen's compensation. Logic, reason, and fairness require that he be treated as a joint employer with immunity from unlimited liability provided to employers in the act.
We heartily endorse the recommendations made earlier in testimony before this committee by Mr. Scanlan, representing the Philadelphia Association, to amend the bill to provide for the elimination of thirdparty suits.
I sincerely thank you for the opportunity of presenting the views of the New York Shipping Association. I personally have been long involved in this, that I would welcome any questions from you if you in any way found some of my testimony difficult to follow.
1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1956
Members Port Watchmen Members Port Watchmen
2774 Analysis by Quarters shows:
2.9% of all accidents reported Operating Methods
35.8% of all accidents reported Operating Conditions
24.6% of all accidents reported Individual Methods
27.4% of all accidents reported All others
7.4% of all accidents reported Incorrectly Reported
1.9% of all accidents reported
Rate as of July 1, 1967
steel framework, welding on bridges, and steel-frame construction..
over 1 story, and tank erection on building roofs.
Senator YARBOROUGH. Thank you, Mr. Talbot, for your statement. Senator Morse?
Senator MORSE. Mr. Chairman, I would like to have the attention of Senator Javits for a moment. As I said at the beginning of the hearing this morning, I have to go now to the Foreign Relations Committee, who are having a reexamination of the facts that existed at the time of the Tonkin Bay incident. Secretary McNamara will be our witness and I have been assigned the responsibility of asking him a series of questions.
I want to insert in the record at this point the wire just handed to me from Vern Newcomb, secretary and counsel of the United Metal Trades Association in Portland, Oreg. It reads: "Hon. WAYNE MORSE, Senate Office Building, Wash., D.C. “Re Senate bill 2485:
“Amendment of Longshoreman and Harbor. Workers Compensation Act. This association represents an appreciable number of firms which employ workmen covered by this act. On behalf of these firms, we adopt the views and position as stated in testimony by Arthur E. Farr before the Senate subcommittee in Portland, Oreg. on January 29, 1968. We understand the record on these hearings is still open and that this wire be included in the record.
"UNITED METAL TRADES ASSOCIATION, VERN NEWCOMB, Secretary and Counsel.
I have read it in the record for an appropriate place in the record, Mr. Chairman.
Senator YARBOROUGH. The wire is ordered placed in the record as requested. (The telegram follows:)
PORTLAND, OREG., February 19, 1968. Re Senate bill 2485. Amendments to Longshoreman and Harbor Workers Com
pensation Act. Hon. WAYNE MORSE, Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.:
This association represents an appreciable number of firms which employ workmen covered by this act. On behalf of these firms, we adopt the views and position as stated in testimony by Arthur E. Farr before the Senate subcommittee in Portland, Oreg. on January 29, 1968. We understand the record on these hearings is still open and that this wire be included in the record.
UNITED METAL TRADES ASSOCIATION,
VERN NEWCOMB, Secretary and Counsel. Senator MORSE. I would like to have the permission of the Chair to have counsel for the committee ask whatever witnesses he thinks appropriate a series of questions that I asked some of the witnesses in the Portland hearing, dealing with the user charges, lawyers' fees, statute of limitations, the $24,000 limit, and the third-party actions. Mr. Field, I have scanned your statement but have not had the chance to study it. But I have scanned it sufficiently to note that some of these questions are not covered by your testimony. I would like to suggest, Mr. Chairman, that Mr. Harris ask any questions on my behalf on the subjects that he may propound, and that Mr. Field be given an opportunity to file any supplemental memoranda he wishes to file.
If you read the transcript of the Portland hearings, you will see that Senator Yarborough and I expressed great interest in these subjects. I think it is important that we have in the record the position of the ILA in regard to user charges and statute of limitations, the $24,000 matter that you cover in your statement, the third-party suit matter. If Mr. Harris may act for me, Mr. Chairman, in my absence, I would appreciate it very much.
Again I apologize to Mr. Talbot and the others that I cannot stay for the rest of the session this morning.
Senator YARBOROUGH. I, too, may have to leave. I have a White Hlouse appointment.
Senator MORSE. I think it is quite possible that Senator Javits may wish to stay after you and I leave, to ask questions.
Senator Javits. I have problems of my own.
Senator YARBOROUGH. "We thank you, Senator Morse, for coming. We started at 9:15 and you indicated you would come and stay until your other committee started.
I appreciate the ranking minority member taking the time to come. I le has attended other sessions of this hearing on this proposed legislation and has shown a great interest in it.
Do you have any questions, Senator Javits?
Senator Javits. Mr. Chairman, I have heard some of the testimony. I have read a good deal of the rest of it; the matter has been analyzed for me by the minority counsel of the committee.
I think I begin to see the lineaments of the problems which are presented here, especially this peripheral issue of third-party suits which has been raised. Though it is not directly involved in the legislation, it so complicates the real cost factor as to justify consideration in the legislation itself. Is that your case, gentlemen ?
Mr. TALBOT. That's right.
Senator Javits. Though it is not in this legislation, it is a cost factor which is assessed upon the industry, and it therefore should be taken into consideration as we may pass a law which will increase your premiums. That is your case?
Mr. TALBOT. That is correct.
Senator Javits. Mr. Chairman, I think it might be well to suggest to the Chair to have a staff study which would be participated in by majority and minority staff, based upon what we have heard and also what they can find out as to whether there is anything to this claim.
Also, Mr. Chairman, I think that it may be well to consult with the bar associations in the principal cities affected. There is not only one way to deal with this matter, it may very well be that the claim of excess fees and other claims which is made by the industry may or may not be warranted.
The assertion of legal rights should not be inhibited by broad claims which may have no foundation; and if they do, then we should know about them.
Personally, I favor this bill very strongly and I would hope that the industry would favor it just as strongly, because it seeks nothing but a readjustment in realistic terms of somewhat outdated compensatory schedules. But this third-party suit matter is a factor which the industry has raised and I would suggest, Mr. Chairman, that it may be helpful to all of us if perhaps the staff would give us a factual analysis of whether or not this should have any effect upon us and the incidental fallout benefit of that factual analysis might very well be a sharper look by the public and the bar associations as to what is actually going on.
If there is anything that should be redressed quite separate and apart from this bill, that would be the way to fix attention on it.
I suggest the Chair's consideration and also perhaps the Chair might wish to have a meeting of the subcommittee to consider that suggestion before the Chair acts on it for the Chair has complete authority, I believe.
Senator YARBOROUGH. Thank you, Senator Javits. I think that the counsel for the majority and minority should make this study that Senator Javits has requested so long as it does not prolong the closing date for testimony of the case and we would normally, after the oral testimony is over, leave this record open for a minimum of 2 weeks anyway, in order to complete that.
The bill is introduced to change compensation rates under the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Act. Now the parties have brought up another issue and say the third-party suit is too expensive for us