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MARITIME LABOR WELCOMES ADMINISTRATION'S PROPOSALS TO REBUILD U.S. FLEET

 MARITIME LABOR WELCOMES ADMINISTRATION'S PROPOSALS
 TO REBUILD U.S. FLEET
 WASHINGTON, June 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The presidents of America's major maritime unions, in a joint statement released today, commended Transportation Secretary Andrew Card, who yesterday announced the details of a new maritime policy reform initiative.
 The union presidents -- (listed in alphabetical order by last name) Dave Arian, International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU); John M. Bowers, International Longshoremen's Association (ILA); Timothy A. Brown, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P); Henry Disley, Marine Firemen's Union (MFU); Gunnar Lundeberg, Sailor's Union of the Pacific (SUP); Raymond T. McKay, American Maritime Officers, District 2 Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (AMO, District 2 MEBA); Michael Sacco, Seafarers International Union (SIU); and Gordon M. Ward, District No. 1 - Pacific Coast District, Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (District No. 1 - PCD, MEBA) -- represent the majority of American merchant mariners working aboard U.S.-flag commercial vessels as well as shoreside personnel in American ports.
 The union officers representing seagoing members, in September of 1991, issued a call-to-action to all segments of the maritime industry and to the government to work together with labor to maintain the American flag on the high seas. The unions have consistently pledged to support those policies and programs which will carry the U.S.-flag merchant marine into the next century, and which will enhance the competitiveness of American-flag, American- manned vessel operations.
 To this end, the labor leaders expressed their support for various aspects of the program announced by Card as "critical first steps to put our industry on the road to recovery. We are especially pleased," they said, "that changes are proposed which will help American operators acquire new vessels for operation under the United States flag."
 "Most importantly," according to the heads of the maritime unions, "many of the proposals will help put American vessels on a more equal footing with their foreign flag competitors and will, in time, help eliminate the need for American operators to expand foreign vessel operations." The ability to acquire vessels from worldwide sources for operation under the United States flag; the right for such vessels to carry government cargo; and the creation of a new "contingency retainer program" to guarantee the availability of a U.S.-flag commercial fleet in time of emergency were singled out as particularly helpful by the unions.
 "Our country's requirements during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm proved once again that commercial shipping capability is an indispensable component of our nation's seapower strength, and that the only reliable commercial shipping capability is provided by a privately-owned U.S.-flag fleet manned by highly trained American merchant mariners. Many of the proposed maritime policy initiatives," according to the union presidents, "should at least help form the vitally important framework necessary to maintain and enhance the U.S.-flag shipping capability so critically important to the economic, political and military security of the United States."
 The presidents of eight other maritime unions also credited the persistent efforts of Sen. John Breaux (D-La.). The statement issued by the presidents also recognized the actions of Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Rep. Walter Jones (D-N.C.) in helping formulate a new maritime policy in conjunction with Card. The unions reaffirmed their commitment to work with Breaux, Lott and Jones to move a meaningful, comprehensive maritime policy reform package through the Congress as quickly as possible.
 The full text of the maritime union presidents' statement follows:
 Statement by Maritime Union Presidents
 on Administration's Policy Announced June 17, 1992
 June 18, 1992
 We welcome the administration's maritime policy presented to the Senate Commerce Committee yesterday by Secretary of Transportation Andrew Card. If much of what Secretary Card has proposed comes to fruition, the United States will have a U.S.-flag fleet on the high seas, as befits the nation's status as the major world power.
 Overall, we believe the administration's proposed maritime policy, if put into place, will have beneficial effects on the American economy, the nation's defense capability and the employment situation. Secretary Card's proposals represent critical first steps to put our industry on the road to recovery.
 We commend President Bush and Secretary Card for their vision -- and commitment to fulfill that vision -- of an America with a U.S.- flag fleet. We recognize and deeply appreciate the ongoing and persistent efforts of Sen. John Breaux, chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Merchant Marine of the Commerce Committee, which oversees shipping issues in that legislative body. Additionally, we thank Sen. Trent Lott, ranking minority member of that panel, as well as Congressman Walter Jones, chairman of the House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee for their role in this process. We recognize that the efforts of these legislators kept the issue of a maritime policy front and center on the nation's agenda.
 As history demonstrates, the commitment of the President of the United States to a strong American merchant marine is an essential ingredient to the enactment of any forward-looking maritime legislation. This was the case in the enactment of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 and the Merchant Marine Act of 1970, two pieces of legislation that serve as the underpinning of the U.S.-flag fleet, both chartered by the administration of the time and supported by Congress and the industry.
 Those acts have served us well, but no program or policy is flexible and elastic enough to function eternally in this constantly and rapidly changing world. We believe, just as those acts were crafted to meet the realities of world shipping in those times, the administration's proposals can form the core of a maritime initiative that continue to serve the nation's interest while also enacting new approaches that will make the U.S.-flag fleet competitive in today's global trades. This, we believe, can be the Merchant Marine Act of 1992.
 While we have not had an opportunity to fully study the entire package put forward by the secretary, on initial review we believe we can fully support the thrust of the initiative. In particular, we are especially pleased that changes are proposed which will help American operators acquire new vessels for operation under the U.S. flag.
 Most importantly, many of the proposals will help put American vessels on a more equal footing with their foreign-flag competitors and will, in time, help eliminate the need for American operators to expand foreign vessel operations. For example, such proposals include the right of American operators to acquire vessels from worldwide sources for operation under the U.S. flag, the right for such vessels to carry government cargo, and the creation of a new "contingency retainer program" to guarantee the availability of a U.S.-flag commercial fleet in time of emergency. We also welcome the initiatives designed to encourage shipbuilding in the United States.
 Our country's requirements during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm proved once again that commercial shipping capability is an indispensable component of our nation's seapower strength, and that the only reliable commercial shipping capability is provided by a privately-owned U.S.-flag fleet manned by highly trained American merchant mariners. Many of the proposed maritime policy initiatives should at least help form the vitally important framework necessary to maintain and enhance the U.S.-flag shipping capability so critically important to the economic, political and military security of the United States.
 For our part, as elected representatives of licensed and unlicensed marine personnel, we pledge to work with the administration, the Congress and the industry to ensure that such a policy becomes a reality.
 Additionally, as we have done in the past, we will work with our contracted operators -- within the framework of our collective bargaining agreements -- to take steps that will allow the United States fleet to be the most productive one in the world. As each union has demonstrated in the past, as new technology and new ships are brought into line, management and labor can work together to ensure that our American workers are properly trained and the best qualified in the world.
 American maritime labor, the industry and Congress have demonstrated a willingness to work for a revival of a U.S.-flag shipping capability. With the addition of administration support to the equation, we are hopeful that what once looked to be a formidable task has now become a reachable goal.
 Signed by (in alphabetical order):
 -- Dave Arian, president, International Longshoremen's and
 Warehousemen's Union
 -- John Bowers, president, International Longshoremen's
 Association
 -- Timothy A. Brown, president, International Organization of
 Masters, Mates & Pilots
 -- Henry "Whitey" Disley, president, Marine Firemen's Union
 -- Gunnar Lundeberg, president, Sailors' Union of the Pacific
 -- Raymond T. McKay, president, American Maritime Officers,
 District 2 MEBA
 -- Michael Sacco, president, Seafarers International Union
 -- Gordon M. Ward, president, District No. 1 - Pacific Coast
 District, MEBA
 -0- 6/18/92
 /CONTACT: Dave Arian of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, 415-775-0533; John M. Bowers of the International Longshoremen's Association, 212-425-1200; Timothy A. Brown of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, 301-850-8700; Henry Disley of the Marine Firemen's Union, 415-362-4592; Gunnar Lundeberg of the Sailor's Union of the Pacific, 415-777-3400; Raymond T. McKay of the American Maritime Officers, District 2 MEBA, 718-965-6700; Michael Sacco of the Seafarers International Union, 301-899-0675; or Gordon M. Ward of District No. 1-Pacific Coast District, MEBA, 410-385-5271/ CO: ST: District of Columbia IN: MAR SU:


DC -- DC009 -- 1489 06/18/92 12:05 EDT
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