A Statement from Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO President James Hart on the Importance of Investing in U.S. Shipbuilding

A Statement from Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO President James Hart on the Importance of Investing in U.S. Shipbuilding

Want to Make America Great Again? Invest in American Shipbuilding.

The time to Act is now. It’s time to SAVE THE PHILLY SHIPYARD. It’s time to revitalize the American shipbuilding industry, build the TANKERS needed to transport the energy we harvest throughout the United States and the world. It’s time for the United States to re-enter the recreation and cruise ship industry and most importantly it’s vital that we ensure that America has a merchant fleet capable of building a steel bridge to deliver American fighting men and women the equipment necessary to counter foreign aggression anywhere in the world.

I am sick and tired of American ship builders being forced to fend for themselves while their foreign competition soaks up billions of dollars in government support payments and subsidies.

I’m sick and tired of the American Maritime worker and their families taking in on the chin, losing their pensions and healthcare all in the name of irresponsible corporate greed and government policies. It’s long past time for the President to take the steadfast advice of his top economic and trade advisors at Commerce and Transportation and begin to reinvest in the Jones Act Shipbuilding Industry that is so vital to our nation’s national security.

Our merchant fleet is virtually depleted. Heavily subsidized foreign flagged vessels are feasting at the expense of the American worker and consumer, our manufacturing infrastructure is virtually decimated to the point that even though our cities and states face daunting new infrastructure rebuilds throughout the nation, we are forced to turn to foreign nations to meet our fabrication and material needs.

Ronald Reagan was wrong in eliminating government subsidies to American shipbuilding, and President Trump needs to correct that inequity or at the very least level the playing field and not allow any foreign vessel that receives government subsidies to load or unload at US ports.

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The Metal Trades Department is a trade department of the AFL-CIO. It was chartered in 1908 to coordinate negotiating, organizing and legislative efforts of affiliated metalworking and related crafts and trade unions. Seventeen national and international unions are affiliated with the MTD today. More than 100,000 workers in private industry and federal establishments work under contracts negotiated by MTD Councils. Workers retain membership in their own trade unions.

Take Action: Is your Member of Congress Going to Cosponsor the Never Forget the Heroes Act?

Take Action: Is your Member of Congress Going to Cosponsor the Never Forget the Heroes Act?

Find your member of Congress and urge them to join in this effort.

Congress must pass the Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund Act, to reverse the cuts that the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) has announced. 

The VCF has announced that because of the lack of funds, it will be cutting the compensation for all pending cases by 50 % and all future cases by 70%.

This is devasting news to the thousands who of sick and injured  9/11 responders and survivors who have been waiting for years to get the help they need and deserve.

Not only will it not have the funds needed to fully pay claims, but the VCF is scheduled to close in December of 2020.

That means if you were a 9/11 responder and you become sick with cancer in January of 2021, you will have nowhere to turn.

We cannot let that happen.

In 2010, after years of delays and facing increasing pressure from 9/11 responders and survivors walking the halls of Congress, Washington finally acted and authorized medical treatment and monitoring as well as economic compensation to those injured at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and the Shanksville crash site for five years.

In 2015, again under pressure from injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors with overwhelming bipartisan support, Congress passed a new law that made the World Trade Center Health Program permanent so that injured responders and survivors can get the health care that they need. This law also extended the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for another 5 years.

The cuts in compensation that the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is making comes at a time when the number of people coming forward with illnesses and cancers related to their exposure to toxins at Ground Zero grows every day.  When every other day, another 9/11 responder or survivor dies from a 9/11 related cancer.

These are the facts today:

  • The more than 45,000 people who are in the World Trade Center Health Program are suffering from at least one certified 9/11 condition caused by toxins at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and the Shanksville crash site, while a large percentage have multiple conditions.
  • Chronic diseases like asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and cancer continue to plague those who were exposed to the many toxins and carcinogens on 9/11 and in the weeks and months thereafter.
  • Over 10,000 of those enrolled in the Health Program have been certified with a 9/11 related cancer, with more being diagnosed every day. Thousands more who have been diagnosed with cancer are only now joining the health program, so these numbers will increase dramatically.
  • 9/11 responders and survivors in the Health Program reside in all 50 states and in 434 out of 435 Congressional districts.

It has taken years of effort to get a handle on the size and scope of the health crisis facing so many.  The statistics and information we have now were not available in 2010 when the legislation was first passed, or in 2015 during the reauthorization.

Now that these facts have become known, and we have a better understanding of the number of people that are sick and dying from their 9/11 exposures, it is up to Congress to act.

Congress must provide the funds needed by the VCF so that these potential cuts will not happen—cuts that would impact the lives of those injured and still suffering, as well as the families of those that have died.

Remember: it was the Federal government that said the air was safe to breathe.

It was also the Federal government that refused for years to take responsibility, to do the research and respond to the health crisis that is facing so many.

Given the information we now have on the scope of the health crisis and the potential funding shortfall the VCF faces, it is our hope that Congress will in fact remember 9/11 by providing the needed funds and authorizing a permanent Victim Compensation Fund by passingthe Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act.

Find your member of Congress and urge them to join in this effort.