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.
Coalition Chronicle Special Edition April 2020
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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.
The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO strongly supports the Energizing American Shipbuilding Act. We urge Congress to move forward on Congressman John Garamendi’s legislation.
View Rep. Garamendi’s whitepaper on “The Energizing American Shipbuilding Act: A Plan to Create Good Middle Class Jobs, Maintain Critical National Security Assets, Enhance Public Safety, and Strengthen the American Shipbuilding Industry” to learn more.
From the Whitepaper: The U.S. Merchant Marine and shipbuilding industries are strategic national assets critical to national security, with the Department of Defense relying on our U.S.-flag fleet and its pool of trained and credentialed mariners for over 95 percent of national sealift needs in times of war or emergency. Yet this fleet is in a state of precipitous decline: the number of privately-owned U.S.-flag vessels engaged in foreign trade has dropped from 249 in the 1980s to just 78 as of October 1, 2016.
This signals not only the erosion of our sealift capabilities, but also the outsourcing of security and control over the supply chain that underpins our entire economy. The world relies on maritime transportation to move ninety percent of its global trade, but very little of that travels on U.S.-flag ships. Of the 1.4 billion tons of goods that are imported and exported through U.S. ports each year, 98 percent travel on foreign-flag vessels operated by foreign mariners.
The erosion of our ability to build and operate ocean-going vessels at competitive rates is also a threat to our industrial base. Good manufacturing jobs in shipyards and shipbuilding supplier companies have been outsourced oversees at alarming rates, and with them the invaluable technical skill and shipyard infrastructure that once kept costs down for both commercial and naval shipbuilding.
Inertia and bad public policy precipitated this decline, but Congress can turn the ship around by passing the Energizing American Shipbuilding Act.
Contact Congress and tell them to move on the Energizing American Shipbuilding Act
Contact Congress today and tell them to move on H.R. 1240, the Energizing American Maritime Act. Unless Congress takes action, ALL exported American crude oil and LNG traveling by ship will go on foreign-built and foreign-flag vessels operated by foreign crews, outsourcing ALL of the associated jobs and technical skills to foreign competitors. This bill would expand our U.S.-flag fleet, create over 2,000 new mariner jobs, and create thousands of additional jobs in shipyards and throughout the shipbuilding supply chain. I hope we can count on your support.
The Act Will Support Good Middle Class Jobs
Tens of thousands of American mariner and manufacturing jobs aboard vessels, in shipyards, and throughout the U.S. supply chain depend on the strength of the maritime industry. There are currently 117 active shipyards in the U.S. spread across 26 states, and another 200 shipyards engaged in repairs or capable of building ships. In 2011, the U.S. private shipbuilding and repair industry directly provided 107,240 jobs, $7.9 billion in labor income, and $9.8 billion in gross domestic product to the national economy. Including direct, indirect, and induced impacts, on a nationwide basis, total economic activity associated with the industry reached 402,010 jobs across all 50 states, $23.9 billion of labor income, and $36 billion in GDP in 2011. Each job in the private shipbuilding and repair industry supports another 2.7 jobs nationally, including increased revenue for small – businesses serving maritime workers and their families. Each dollar of labor income in the shipyard sector leads to another $2.03 in labor income in other parts of the economy.
The Energizing American Shipbuilding Act would:
- Immediately launch an LNG shipbuilding program in the U.S., ramping up over time so that by 2040, 15% of exported American LNG travels on U.S.-built and –flagged vessels;
- Immediately launch a crude oil shipbuilding program in the U.S., ramping up over time so that by 2032, 10% of exported crude oil travels on U.S.-built and –flagged vessels;
- Require that a significant portion of the iron, steel, and manufactured components be U.S.-sourced and U.S.-constructed, good U.S. manufacturing jobs in addition to mariner jobs;
- Require that exporters immediately create training opportunities for American mariners aboard export vessels so they can earn the credentialing required to assume these jobs.