Because a great deal of the maritime work involving the MTD’s affiliates deals with the military, the department has a longstanding commitment to fight for the men and women serving in the armed forces as well as to stand with them when they return home.
The MTD is proud to be an affiliate of the AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council, which calls attention to legislation and executive actions at the local, state and federal levels that directly affect those who have served and their families.
Once again, during the recent MTD Executive Board meeting in San Antonio, the MTD urged its affiliates and Port Maritime Councils to continue the campaign to find jobs for veterans. In its statement, the board noted veterans who have served during this century have an unemployment rate higher than the national average.
The MTD has been proud to work with the American Maritime Partnership’s Military2Maritime Program, which provides veterans the opportunity to match the skills they acquired while serving with maritime companies, trainings schools, unions and others for possible career prospects.
Helping to focus attention to this struggle was Will Fischer, legislative director for VoteVets and the former executive director of the Union Veterans Council.
In his address to the board on March 9, Fischer pointed out that “the veteran class in this country is very much part of the working class. If you are a politician, you cannot be pro-veteran if you are anti-union.”
Fischer, an Iraqi War vet and member of Painters District Council 51, called out those who wrap themselves in the flag and have veterans stand with them in photo ops, then move on to support measures that hurt the working class. He said 31 percent of the federal workforce is composed of veterans.
“It’s not very pro-veteran to attack the Jones Act,” Fischer declared. He also noted how veterans were among those who lost their jobs when Mondelez/Nabisco closed its Chicago bakery a year ago.
Fischer listed VoteVets priorities as national security, good economic opportunities for veterans, and no privatization of the Veterans Administration.