Rank-and-file Seafarers met with legislators and staff April 17 in the nation’s capital as part of a day-long outreach to express thanks for support of America’s freight cabotage law, the Jones Act. SIU Port Agent John Hoskins, Legislative Director Brian Schoeneman, and Senior Political Consultant Terry Turner joined SIU members Cesar Dela Cruz, Robinson Eromosele, Michael Ingram, Breon Lucas, Stephen Martin and Tyrell Thabit for the event, which was coordinated by the Maritime Trades Department and the Metal Trades Department (each a constitutional department of the AFL-CIO).
Members of other unions also participated.
Led by Maritime Trades Department Executive Secretary- Treasurer Daniel Duncan and Executive Board Member Brett McCoy (from the United Association), nearly 75 people worked with Metal Trades Department President James Hart and Dredging Contractors of America Executive Director and CEO William Doyle for a rally outside the steps of the Capitol before heading to legislators’ offices.
Duncan, Hart and Doyle spoke about the importance of the Jones Act for the nation’s economic and domestic security. They pointed out that the Jones Act directly and indirectly provides “approximately 500,000 decent, family-sustaining American jobs resulting in nearly $100 billion annually for the economy.” In addition, American mariners working on Jones Act vessels offer security on the nation’s inland waterways and harbors.
Representatives from the Maritime Trades Department- affiliated Electrical Workers; Machinists; Seafarers; Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers; Transportation-Communications Union; and United Association donned red, white and blue “Jones Act All American” lapel stickers to show their appreciation. Each legislator or their aide received a booklet containing Jones Act facts and figures, including the six-month data revealing 114,000 containers have been delivered by American-crewed Jones Act vessels since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico.
Union members met with U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), Doug Jones (D-Alabama), Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Richard Shelby (RAlabama) as well as U.S. Representatives Rick Larsen (DWashington) and Linda Sanchez (D-California). They also discussed the Jones Act with aides from other Senate and House offices representing both political parties, reflecting the continued strong bipartisan support of the measure, which has helped protect U.S. national, economic and homeland security for nearly a century.
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