Several Labor-related issues caught the attention of the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO Executive Board when it met in San Diego on February 18 and 19.
Of primary importance was the need for jobs.
In its “An Economy that Works for All” statement, the board saluted the AFL-CIO’s Common Sense Economics workshops and Raising Wages public forums for focusing the public’s attention the wealth disparity afflicting the country. It noted the problems with wage stagnation and the fact the minimum wage has not risen in seven years. It called for foreign trade agreements to include worker protections. And it blasted efforts around the country to implement more right-to-work (for less) laws, noting workers in states where such a law has been implemented earn nearly $6,000 less than localities without such restrictions.
Specifically, the board dealt with the problems of foreign steel being dumped on the U.S. and Canadian markets. The body pointed out that not just miners and steel makers are losing their jobs, but mariners as well as Great Lakes ships are tying up because of the lack of work. “The MTD calls upon the elected leaders in Washington and Ottawa to take immediate, decisive, and long-term action to address the problem of illegal steel dumping practices, subsidization, currency manipulation and other illegal trading practices which continue to destroy good jobs across the United States and Canada,” according to “Steel Dumping” statement.
Once again, the MTD spotlighted the many activities associated with hiring veterans, including the Miliatry2Maritime program coordinated by American Maritime Partnership. The board reiterated its ongoing support for the AFL-CIO’s Union Veterans Council and its appreciation to all who serve in the military.
With 2016 being a presidential election year, the board urged its affiliates and Port Maritime Councils to get members involved in get-out-the-vote campaigns for those running for office who back the issues of Labor and will fight for job creation.