FROM THE DESK OF METAL TRADES DEPARTMENT PRESIDENT JAMES HART
The Next Big Shipbuilding Market
Upgrading, renewing, and expanding the Jones Act fleet is the next huge shipbuilding opportunity in the world today.
It has been more than three decades since America held the number one position in worldwide tonnage production. In the intervening 30 plus years Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Korea, and now China have ascended to the top of the worldwide shipbuilding industry, building large fleets of new marine assets for the global economy. Today foreign yards are sold out through 2027.
Now it is time for the United States’ shipyards to shift into high gear to repeat our unmatched WWII producing record of more than 5,000 marine assets in a little over three years. Today, we estimate that we will need over 10,000 new marine assets to fulfill our needs over the next ten years, including hundreds of multipurpose container and offshore wind feeders, cable layers, new barges, thousands of fishing vessels, a fleet of new high-powered tugs to handle the new fleet of VLCVs (Very Large Container Vessels) and the list goes on and on.
A few of the benefits of new modern marine assets:
The ability to standardize vessels built in series, lowering construction costs
New marine assets operate for less; new technology is simply more efficient
Standardized vessels can be and are operated by interchangeable crews, just like airplanes
New vessels are more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly than old technologies
New marine assets have lower repair and maintenance costs as standard parts are available
New vessels will comply with IMO and new environmental standards
Modern vessels are insurable
New vessels can be financed at lower rates in today’s low interest environment
New Jones Act assets are subject to ten-year depreciation schedules and are eligible for tax credits
And the list goes on and on and on…………………
Meeting our nation’s present and future commercial maritime needs is a Herculean task. We can and we must succeed as renewing and expanding our Jones Act fleets are essential for our nation’s economic and national security future. However, history has taught us over and over again that with every every big idea there are huge opportunities and financial rewards for those willing to take the risk and challenge the status quo.
U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Workers’ Compensation Carve Out for Nuclear Workforce;
AG Ferguson Vows Workers will Remain Protected
The U.S. Supreme Court in June said the state of Washington could not in a 2018 law lower the bar for federal contractors who work at a decomissioned nuclear weapons plant to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
The decision by the court says the state could not single out the Hanford facility in the law because the federal government had not explicitly waived its typical immunity from discriminatory state laws with respect to workers’ compensation.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who has been a champion for workers at Hanford, and was honored by the Metal Trades Department for his work in 2016, said the ruling will have little practical impact because of the recent amendments to the law.
“Hanford workers, and all others working with dangerous radioactive waste, remain protected,” Ferguson said.
MTD, Shipbuilding Partners Issue Whitepaper Calling for Policy Changes to Ease Supply Chain Distribution; Utilize American Green Marine Highway
Metal Trades Department, in collaboration with domestic and international entities recently produced a whitepaper outlining industry and policy changes that will help alleviate the debilitating stress endured by the current supply chain distribution system which will help eliminate congestion in our streets, and revitalizing our coastal and inland waterways and communities.
In the paper, the Metal Trades Department says “our stated goal is to build 200 Jones Act compliant small container (feeders) vessels economically for the American Green Marine Highway by 2030.”
It further calls for utilizing the American Green Marine Highway (AGMH) to transport containers, relieve gridlock, and erect offshore wind farms.
The Department believes its plan will create good-paying union jobs for all segments of the maritime and construction industry in the shipyards, terminals, and ports.
Free College Benefit Provider EGCC Suspended Over Violation of Title IV
We were made aware recently that Eastern Gateway Community College (EGCC), the school where we have sent many of our Metal Trades union members and their family members since 2016, is being forced to suspend the Free College Program immediately.
The Department of Education has made the determination that the program violates Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. 1070etseq.(Title IV), which prohibits assessing charges to recipients eligible for Title IV financial assistance that are higher than those charges assessed to non-Title IV recipients and has notified EGCC to cease providing the benefit immediately. We had no control over this decision and were disappointed to hear it. EGCC disputes these charges, and you can read their response here:https://egcc.edu/press-release/.
We are working hard to get answers to all the questions raised by this decision. This decision not only affects our members but every other union that was offering this benefit.
Rest assured, all the unions engaged in this program are exploring every possible angle to find a way to continue some version of Free College for union members.
Puget Sound President Troy Andrews Retires
Puget Sound MTC President Troy Andrews with President Biden during a Shipyard visit
Troy Andrews has served on the Puget Sound Metal Trades Council in one capacity or another for more than a decade. Beginning in 2010 as a delegate, Andrews then became Trustee for the Council from 2015 to 2016 and Vice President from 2017 to 2020. In 2021, Andrews became president. And, on July 1, 2022, Andrews officially retired.
“Troy will be missed,” says Metal Trades Department President Jimmy Hart. “His hard work and
dedication to the members of Puget Sound Metal Trades Council has enriched the lives of so many. We wish him a long and happy retirement.”
A member of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 252, Andrews began his career in 1980.
Since joining the union, Andrews has been active in Local 252 as a business manager and with the Pierce County Building Trades.
SMART Local 66 member Kal Rhode was elected president of the Council replacing Andrews. Steve Miller, IAMAW District Lodge 160, was elected as vice president.
Reminder: Metal Trades Department Annual Conference Registration is Open
On behalf of the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, it is my pleasure to invite you to join us at our 2022 Annual Metal Trades Department Conference which will be held October 31-November 3, 2022, at Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas.
The theme for this year’s Conference is, ‘The Metal Trades: A Salute to Women in Labor’
Although the Conference is still in the planning stages, the Department invites you to plan your trip in order that you may attend all Conference associated functions.
The Department will host its Annual Charity Golf Tournament, to benefit the Guide Dogs of America-Tender Loving Canines on Monday, October 31. Affiliate caucus meetings will take place on Tuesday, November 1. Our meeting agenda, meeting notices, logistics, and sponsorship opportunities are available for download from our registration website at mtdregistration.com.
Confirmed speakers include SEIU President Mary Kay Henry; IFPTE Secretary-Treasurer Gay Henson; IAMAW Secretary-Treasurer Dora Cervantes; and ULLICO Life and Health President Stephanie Waylen. The Department expects to add additional confirmed speakers from government, industry, and labor in the coming weeks.
MacLiesh Appointed Single Point of Contact at Vigor
Heather MacLiesh, a journeyman welder/fitter, and member of SMART local 16 has been appointed as the Single Point of Contact at Vigor Industrial. MacLiesh, has been with Vigor for about two years and previously served as the craft steward for Local 16.
Vigor’s Single Point of Contact (SPC) position is the sole individual responsible for receiving and distributing information from Vigor management to its various labor unions. As SPC, MacLiesh acts as the liaison of information on everything from new hires and terminations, disciplinary action, layoffs, personnel changes, pay rate and
classification changes and payroll dues deductions. She then supplies the Council and each individual union the information for their records.
The SPC meets with the company regularly, either electronically or in person, to address any issues of importance. Daily topics of discussion may include corrective action reports, project stand downs, closures due to inclement weather, training needs, or staffing changes.
MacLiesh is also responsible for processing all representational information, scheduling council trainings, archiving copies of company policies, procedures, instructions, MOUs and bargaining information for labor and management.
In her capacity as SPC, MacLiesh also addresses any questions union members may have and working directly with the lead and craft stewards on site to ensure everything is running smoothly for them. She meets with the lead and craft stewards every other week to discuss their issues.
“I love this new position,” says MacLiesh. “It allows me to help my fellow union brothers and sisters by building relationships and opening lines of communication between labor and management.”
MacLiesh says that she is hoping she can maintain a positive work environment for everyone through her work as SPC and looks forward to the challenges this position offers.