Representatives from U.S.-flag maritime labor and industry worked the halls of Capitol Hill together on May 8 to promote various issues affecting those who work, sail, build and operate American vessels as well as nation’s harbors, ports and waterways.
National MTD officers – including President Michael Sacco and Secretary-Treasurer Daniel Duncan – and officers and members from nearly 10 port councils from around the country joined 150 others during the fourth annual “Sail-In” to meet with members of Congress and their staffs. Working alongside the unions were industry executives, shipbuilders and repair yard representatives, and port officials.
After receiving their assignments in the morning, 25 groups charted their courses to various offices on both the House and Senate sides of the Capitol. Of primary importance were sessions with newer members of Congress to provide background information on the importance of the U.S.-flag maritime industry – especially the Jones Act — to the nation’s economic and defense security. The groups were able to contact approximately 200 offices during the day.
Among the issues discussed were continued support for the Maritime Security Program, the need for Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund dollars to be used for their intended purpose of maintaining and upgrading America’s ports and waterways, the battle to preserve the Food for Peace Program and the ongoing quest to modernize America’s Jones Act fleet.
Meeting with the elected officials and staff were port councils from Boston, Chicago and Western Lakes, Hampton Roads (VA), Houston, Michigan, New York/New Jersey, Puget Sound (WA), San Francisco and South Florida.