The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor (WCNYH) is a regulatory agency in Port of New York in the United States. The state government entity of New York was established in August 1953. Under statutory mandate, the mission of the commission is to investigate, deter, combat and remedy criminal activity and influence in the port district and also ensures fair hiring and employment practices.
The commission was set up in August 1953 (a year before the movie On the Waterfront) to combat labor racketeering. It is held that the Gambino crime family controlled the New York waterfront and the Genovese crime family controlled the New Jersey side.
The Division of Licensing and Employment Information Centers is responsible for screening, registering, and licensing individuals who are interested in working at the dock. The commission is authorized to deny or revoke the registration and/or licenses of those who involve themselves in criminal activity.
The Police Division operates in Manhattan, Brooklyn.
The Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor cooperates with various state, federal, and local law enforcement authorities in pursuing investigations into waterfront-related crimes. The Waterfront Commission participated in the investigation of criminal activities by the leaders and members of the Gambino crime family and union leaders. Charges of racketeering conspiracy, extortion, theft of union benefits, mail fraud, false statements, loansharking, embezzlement of union funds, money laundering, and illegal gambling, dating back over three decades, were brought forth by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in February 2008 against leaders of the Gambino crime family, their associates, and union officials. The Police Division utilizes numerous vehicles in its vehicle fleet, including marked police cars and trucks.
On August 11, 2009, the "New York State Inspector General Joseph Fisch issued a report of his two-year investigation of the Waterfront Commission. The report detailed extensive illegal, corrupt and unethical behavior on the part of Waterfront Commission staff. Following release of the report, the large majority of the Commission's executive staff was fired, including the New Jersey Commissioner Michael J. Madonna (the New York Commissioner's seat was vacant at the time of the report's release, although the report faulted the actions of the former New York Commissioner, Michael C. Axelrod).
The report's existence was due, in part, to two whistleblowers Kevin McGown and Brian Smith, who both resigned and have since filed a discrimination complaint against the agency.
In October 2014, the New Jersey Senate passed measure S-2277 which would direct the governor of New Jersey to withdraw from the bi-state compact and transfer the commission's oversight responsibilities in New Jersey to the state police.