The nation’s largest Labor federation, the AFL-CIO, added its opposition to a proposed second registry for the U.S. Virgin Islands following a unanimous vote by its Executive Council on Tuesday.
“The AFL-CIO joins with the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO; the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO; and the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, in calling upon the Biden administration, Congress, the Department of Defense and the Maritime Administration to reject any effort that U.S. Virgin Islands-flag vessels be treated as if they are the same as U.S.-flag, U.S.-crewed vessels for any purpose or for any program,” read the statement.
MTD President Michael Sacco addressed the body before the vote was taken. (Sacco serves as the Executive Council’s senior vice president, having been elected to it in 1991, and is the president of the Seafarers Union.) He alerted the body that if the registry were permitted, it would take jobs away from American merchant mariners, including those providing supplies to armed forces around the world.
The second registry proposal was announced during a February 1 Washington, DC, press conference attended by the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Six maritime unions – the American Maritime Officers; the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association; the Marine Firemen’s Union; the Masters, Mates & Pilots; the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific; and the SIU – along with the Maritime Trades and the Transportation Trades immediately blasted the idea, calling it “an affront to the American mariners who have always put themselves in harm’s way whenever called upon by our nation.”
The full text of the AFL-CIO statement may be seen here. USVI Second Registry