The Fat Cats on the Waterfront — Excerpts from NY Daily News, Jan. 3, 2003, by Douglas Feiden

[Intl. Longshoremen’s Assn. president] John Bowers…collects $390,825 a year on the international’s payroll, and many members think that’s his total compensation.  It’s not.  The 79-year-old Bowers pulls down $160,296 more as head of the union’s Atlantic Coast District. Grand tally: $551,121. His pay leaped 10% from $502,957 in 2001.


Not far behind are at least five officials who make more than $400,000, and a dozen who top $300,000, according to a Daily News review of U.S. Department of Labor filings for 2002, the most recently available year…


But even as dues-paying rolls decline and an insurgent movement gains steam, the wages of union honchos skyrocket.  With just 59,000 members, the ILA slathers at least 25 of its top brass with more than $225,000 – which is what John Sweeney gets as president of the 13 million-member AFL-CIO… Among union czars raking in the big bucks is Louis Saccenti Jr., 62, who was identified in 1997 as the “driver and/or bodyguard” of Mafia canary Salvatore (Sammy Bull) Gravano. Despite his rep, he collects $233,823 on two ILA payrolls.  No other union in the city or nation consistently pays its senior officers more, a News analysis of pay patterns at 75 labor organizations found…


Albert Cernadas, 68, is paid $317,545 as the ILA’s executive vice president. But he holds a second full-time job on the other side of the Hudson, making $160,742 as president of 700-member Local 1235 in Newark, which boosts his haul to $478,287.  As the ILA’s assistant general organizer, Harold Daggett, 57, earns $251,118, and his post is deemed critical to a union hemorrhaging members.


How big a loss? In 1954, the year Marlon Brando starred in “On the Waterfront,” there were 41,333 longshoremen in the Port of New York. By 1990, the rolls had shriveled to 6,329. Today, there are barely 3,000 workers on the wharves. 


Yet Daggett still finds time to serve as president of Local 1804-1 in North Bergen, N.J., grabbing a $212,678 sweetener that ups his annual take to $463,796.  Daggett’s son Dennis, 28, makes $67,936 as the ILA’s safety director. He’s also the $167,023 recording secretary of his father’s 1,400-member local, grossing him $234,959.  As the international’s legislative director, John Bowers Jr., 41, makes $243,317. Mix in another $17,640 as Atlantic Coast legislative director, and the president’s son snags $260,957. 


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