More than 200 union members and allies rallied May 2 along the shore of the Black River near Lake Erie in Lorain, OH, to kickoff support for a proposed 4,000-plus jobs program to repair and refurbish U.S. Navy submarines.
Cleveland Port Council President John Baker joined representatives from MTD affiliates Boilermakers, Communications Workers, Electrical Workers, Fire Fighters, Iron Workers, Longshoremen, Painters, Seafarers and Plumbers & Pipefitters to show union solidarity for the Bartlett Maritime Project.
The AFL-CIO Metal Trades Department sponsored the rally with its president, James Hart, announcing the need for a new facility to handle this vital national security work. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and U.S. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) spoke to the audience on the importance of adding these thousands of union jobs to Ohio’s economy.
The Bartlett Maritime Project calls for building dry docks and vessel repair facilities at Lorain’s old ore dock along Lake Erie. In addition, a manufacturing facility would be constructed in Lordstown, OH, about 100 miles away with strong rail and highway connections. Also, the project requires the building of Jones Act vessels to move the submarines through the St. Lawrence Seaway, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.
When the project went public during a Washington, DC, press conference on March 9, all the participants pledged to use union labor. In a letter of support, MTD President Michael Sacco said, “This private/public partnership is a win-win proposition for Maritime Trades members who will move the submarines to-and-from the Lake Erie yard, for Metal Trades members who will repair and refurbish the vessels, and for Building Trades members who will construct and maintain the facilities.”
Besides Hart and the elected officials, others speaking in Lorain included MTD Executive Secretary-Treasurer Daniel Duncan, Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga, Ohio Building and Construction Trades President Mike Knisley, Lorain Mayor Jack Bradley and Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill.