From the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO:
US-FLAG MARITIME UNITED IN OPPOSING OIL COMPANIES’ SCHEME FOR JONES ACT WAIVER
Union and non-union mariners, ship owners, dredgers, schools, barge operators, pilots, suppliers and more within the U.S.-flag maritime industry — large and small — have come together to send a letter to President Donald Trump that they oppose a waiver to the Jones Act, the nation’s freight cabotage law.
The letter was sent to the White House on April 2, one day before the president was scheduled to meet with executives from oil and petroleum companies who publicly have expressed their desire to waive the 100-year-old law. Among the letter’s nearly 200 signers are MTD President Michael Sacco and Executive Secretary-Treasurer Daniel Duncan.
“Waiving the Jones Act means outsourcing American maritime jobs to foreign shipping companies that do not pay U.S. taxes,” the letter reads.”Many of the foreign vessels would have been made in China and are operated by foreign crews who do not pay U.S. taxes and cannot be counted on to go into harm’s way for America’s interests.”
The letter notes, “The American domestic maritime industry produces 650,000 jobs nationwide that have been designated by the Department of Homeland Security as part of the essential critical infrastructure workforce.”
Referring to the current coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn it has caused, the letter continues, “A Jones Act waiver in these circumstances — replacing American mariners and American ships with foreign mariners and foreign ships in our home waters — is unnecessary and contrary to our collective need to come together as a nation to fight this virus.”
The MTD has long fought for the Jones Act, which continues to receive bipartisan support on Capitol Hill despite continuous efforts by outside forces to cripple the law. More than 90 counties have some type of cabotage law on their books.