Maritime Trades ALF CIO
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MTD, Maritime Unions Blast Proposed Second U.S. Registry


The following statement was issued by a group of American labor unions, including the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO.

For Immediate Release: October 20, 2023

A broad coalition of American maritime and transportation unions has registered its strong
opposition to a proposal that would promote the operation of United States-flag vessels
with foreign crews. The proposal, part of a report issued by the Hudson Institute, would
create a second United States-flag ship registry to allow vessel owners to bypass the hiring
of American maritime workers.

As noted by the unions, “The overall report released by the Hudson Institute contains a
number of recommendations that we oppose and which we believe will adversely affect
the efficient implementation of existing U.S. maritime policies and the operation of U.S.-
flag vessels. In addition, the proposal fails to identify solutions that would increase or
incentivize the carriage of cargoes by U.S.-flag, U.S.-crewed vessels, a core tenet of
ensuring an economically viable U.S. maritime industry. However, the establishment of a
second U.S.-flag registry as proposed by the Hudson Institute is the most egregious
proposal in the report and warrants our specific comment.”

“The United States-flag deep sea fleet is the largest segment of the maritime industry
providing the trained and qualified mariners needed to meet the requirements of the
Department of Defense. It is these American mariners who crew the surge and sustainment
vessels called into action by the Department of Defense in time of war or other international
emergency and who have never, in the history of our nation, refused to respond whenever
and wherever needed by our government.

“At this time in our nation’s history it is imperative that our government act to ensure that
our country has the trained and qualified mariners needed by the Department of Defense.
It is irresponsible to divert U.S. taxpayer dollars to support and to otherwise encourage the
operation of U.S.-flag vessels that do not provide the base of employment necessary to
increase and support the U.S citizen mariner base. To do so is at best a wasteful use of
U.S. taxpayer dollars and at worst, dangerous disregard of America’s national
security requirements.

“We urge the Biden Administration and the Congress to put American maritime workers
first, and to soundly reject this proposal to create a second United States-flag registry that
will be little more than a flag of convenience that has at its core the outsourcing of
American maritime jobs. We instead urge Congress and the Administration to work with
us to strengthen and expand the United States-flag fleet in order to create jobs for America’s
maritime workforce and to further enhance America’s economic, homeland and military

Mark Clements, Secretary-Treasurer, Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO
David Connolly, President, Sailors Union of the Pacific
Paul Doell, President, American Maritime Officers
David Heindel, President, Seafarers International Union
Don Marcus, President, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots
Anthony Poplawski, President, Marine Firemen’s Union
Greg Regan, President, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Adam Vokac, President, Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association

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