Earlier this week, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell signed the Maritime and Industrial Strategy into law. This suite of legislation had been years in the making, advanced by a coalition of organized labor, housing advocates, and private industry–including the Puget Sound Ports Council. It is the most comprehensive collection of policies affecting the region’s maritime industry in decades.
The Maritime and Industrial Strategy implements several sweeping changes, including a new zoning category to protect maritime interests from other forms of incompatible development. On the other hand, the new policies will strengthen logistical connections between maritime and freight rail, boosting supply chain resilience.
It will also transition underutilized industrial land near public transit into commercial and residential space. In a major win for workers, the city projected that the legislative package will result in 35,000 new jobs and 3,000 new homes over the next twenty years.
Mayor Harrell explained the rationale for the new policies, adding that “Our city was founded and flourished on the strength of our industrial and maritime sectors – Seattle’s future requires maintaining and building upon these critical economic cornerstones.”
While other initiatives to strengthen the region’s maritime industry are in development, the Puget Sound Ports Council is savoring the sweet taste of victory. Port Council Vice President Vince O’Halloran commented, “This was a giant win for maritime labor and one that [the Port Council] has fought for many years…This years-long effort was the work of our entire Council’s affiliates.”
As always, the Maritime Trades Department’s Port Maritime Councils demonstrate the collective strength of Labor when unions across the maritime sector speak as one.