MTD: Maritime Industry Must be Major Part of Infrastructure Investment (9/23)

 

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The Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO, has posted the following statement. To access it on the MTD website, click HERE

 

Fighting for Maritime Jobs

 

In February, the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO joined with the rest of Labor in repeating its call to the nation’s elected officials to get America back to work.

 

Since the economic downturn that started in 2007, millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their savings and – in too many cases – their homes. Official reports of the nation’s unemployed still remain above 9 percent, while those who are working beneath their educational/skill levels as well as those who have just given up hover around 16 percent.

 

It is time to fight for our fellow citizens. That is why the MTD applauds the efforts being made by President Obama, starting with his address to a joint session of Congress, to create jobs for Americans. At the same time, the MTD urges the Administration and Congress to recognize that the maritime industry should be a major part of any infrastructure investment. The U.S.-flag maritime industry is a large and vital component of the nation’s economy.

 

In his speeches across the country, the President has drawn attention to several important projects. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka noted that when he said, “We can no longer delay putting Americans back to work and rebuilding our nation’s schools, roads, bridges, transit, ports, rail, communications and energy systems.”

 

MTD President Michael Sacco pointed out that the U.S.-flag maritime industry, as a vital part of America’s infrastructure, can put people to work right away. He cited the America’s Marine Highway Program as specific example.

 

“The waterway system is in place to move cargo from one domestic port to another to ease congestion on highways and the rails,” Sacco stated. “We have well-trained, safety-conscious American citizen crews available to move the goods. But what we need are the ships. We have shipyards closing because of a lack of work, yet our domestic fleet needs modernization if it is to compete with the expected expansion in world trade within the next 10 years.

 

“We have ports that have not been dredged in years along the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts, as well as the Great Lakes. How will America continue to be a major player in international trade if ships cannot enter our harbors? And how will American-made goods get to the ports or imports reach American consumers if we don’t have our highway and rail systems upgraded to meet the needs?”

 

Sacco added, “America’s maritime unions have well-trained, experienced members ready to do what is needed. We have joint union-management educational facilities that can prepare the current and next generation of mariners for what is to come. We simply need America to refocus its attention to getting our people back to work.”

 

The MTD joins with the rest of the Labor Movement in realizing that as Americans go back to work, the budget deficit will shrink. By having people back on the job, they will stimulate the economy, thus more retail jobs will be created. They will resume paying local, state and federal taxes, thus providing needed dollars to repair and replace infrastructure.

 

The MTD stands ready to help as Americans are re-employed, rebuild and recover.

 

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