Bayonne Assemblyman William Sampson, a crane operator at the Global Container Terminal, was booted from his longshoreman job over excessive absences, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor announced.
“Sampson had been employed as a port worker at GCT Bayonne. He claimed that his attendance at particular meetings or events in his capacity as a New Jersey State Assemblyman was ‘good cause’ for his absences,” the commission said in a statement on December 21st.
Specifically, the commission ruled that being an assemblyman does not supersede his duties as a longshoreman, that he didn’t have any evidence for not working in February, provided no reason for not working Saturdays, and failed to explain why his attendance at certain political events was mandatory.
“He acknowledged a possibility that, on certain dates, he could have attended the events and still worked later on those days as a longshoreman. He also misstated his role as a speaker at one event,” the commission also said without going into further details.
Their unanimous decision came after Sampson, who was sworn in back in January, filed a formal request to remain part on the longshoreman’s register in the Port of New York-New Jersey.
The WCNYH has had a contentious relationship with New Jersey in recent memory, with Gov. Phil Murphy (D) attempting to remove the state, which would effectively end the commission – which was founded in 1953 to thwart off mob influence at the ports.
The matter is heading to the U.S. Supreme Court after New York sued to halt the move, and in a statement, Sampson blamed the political tensions between the two neighboring states for his current predicament.
“It’s unfortunate that the Waterfront Commission has decided to take out its frustrations over the State of New Jersey’s efforts to remove itself from its jurisdiction on me, but I will not let this unfortunate action deter me from fighting for working families in Hudson County and throughout our state,” the assemblyman told NJ Globe, who first reported the story.
“I’m proud to be a blue collar, union worker and I will always fight for my brothers and sisters in labor. I along with the ILA International will be working to appeal this decision to allow me to continue working in the industry as I have my whole life. I believe that this decision is not only legally incorrect but contains numerous factual errors.”
Sampson, who has never held office before, unexpectedly got the nod from Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis to replace then-Assembly Majority Whip Nick Chiaravalloti in February.
This is a political maneuver that Davis has never explained publicly, while Chiaravalloti says he was never given a reason as to why he was ousted.