In the April 2020, special edition of the Coalition Chronicle — Report to the National Industrial Base Workforce Coalition — Metal Trades Department President Jimmy Hart’s work on behalf of his members at the Philly Shipyard are spotlighted.
The article explains that in 2019, at a Coalition meeting to address U.S. Shipyards and workforce readiness, Hart spoke about the potential closure of the Philly Shipyard. Noting that the yard was once a Navy Shipyard that had been converted to construct commercial ships, Hart explained that a recent contract to build four Jones Act ships that were to deliver cargo to Hawaii had been cancelled and that that cancellation would result in the closing of the yard.
The article goes on to highlight Hart’s continued efforts and meetings with the Navy, members of Congress from the surrounding geographic region, and members of the administration including Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, Dr. Peter Navarro, to press for action at the Yard. Spotlighting a September 2019, meeting between Hart, Dr. Navarro and the Secretary of the Navy, the Chronicle explains that the delegation toured the shipyard and Dr. Navarro left promising to do everything in his power to keep the yard open.
On April 8, 2020, the Maritime Administration announced that the Philadelphia Shipyard had been selected to build the new National Security Multi-Mission Vessel.
See excerpts from the Coalition Chronicle article below:
Since the founding of the National Industrial Base Workforce Coalition, it has brought together union presidents and senior officials in the administration of both parties. Most recently, Coalition members met with senior policymakers at the Department of Defense in late 2019. Navy officials expressed two concerns – first, to keep shipyards open and also to increase the number of skilled craftsmen and women.
During that meeting, AFL-CIO Metal Trades Department President Jimmy Hart expressed a major concern about the potential closing of the Philadelphia Shipyard. The yard was once a Navy shipyard that had been converted to constructing commercial ships. It was getting back on its feet building container ships and had a contract to build four Jones Act ships that were to deliver cargo to Hawaii. After the first two were under construction, the state of Hawaii notified the ship builder that there would be no port facility to accommodate the new ship. The ship builder, who had placed the order for those ships on the guarantee that there would be portage facilities available to deliver cargo to Hawaii, had no choice but to cancel the order, resulting in the closing of the yard. After the DoD meeting ended, President Hart maintained contact with senior officials in the Navy, reminding them that they would lose both that shipyard and hundreds of skilled builders.
Members of Congress from the surrounding geographic region understood the potential economic fallout, and appealed to the White House. Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, Peter Navarro, became involved because of his understanding of the trade and jobs issues.
In September of 2019, both Navarro and the Secretary of the Navy met with Jimmy Hart for a tour of the Philadelphia shipyard. Navarro clearly understood the importance of keeping the yard open, as it would preserve the jobs of skilled craftsmen and women. He assured Hart that he would do everything in his power to keep the yard open.
On April 8, 2020, the Maritime Administration announced that the Philadelphia Shipyard has been selected to build the new National Security Multi-Mission Vessel. The promise has been kept.
# # #
The National Industrial Base Workforce Coalition is a multi-state, multi-union, multi-company, and multi-industry organization of workers in 25 states. It includes scientists, engineers, technicians, and the entire range of the touch-labor workforce. Its members represent union locals and employee associations in the prime, subcontractor and supplier base in the defense and aerospace industries. Coalition members design, engineer and build everything from satellites to submarines, and everything in between.