A Nautilus Federation affiliate representing American masters, mates and pilots has endorsed a successful resolution in support of the US Merchant Marine law known as the Jones Act which has been adopted by a federation of trade unions in the US.
The resolution – passed at the AFL-CIO 29th Constitutional Convention – noted the economic and jobs importance of the US federal statute, particularly the fact that it provides 'a pool of well-trained, reliable U.S. citizen mariners available to sail aboard US-flagged military support vessels in times of crisis.'
The resolution was submitted to the convention by the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department and supported by the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots (MM&P). MM&P is affiliated to the Nautilus Federation.
MM&P president Don Marcus called the Jones Act: 'the essential pillar of the US maritime industry.' He noted the contributions made by the tens of thousands of essential maritime industry workers who kept the supply lines open through the challenges of the past two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
'This law supports America's mariners and shipyard workers along with other shoreside personnel,' the resolution states. 'It has proven its value to the economy and national security for more than a century.'
The AFL-CIO convention also heard about the importantance of young people to the future of trade unions, and recognised the achievements of 'those who have come before', such as merchant veterans of global conflict.
Mr Marcus said: 'It is no different in the maritime industry: we must recruit young people into the labour movement and ensure that their workplaces aboard ship are free from gender-based harassment or discrimination of any kind.
'Let us also take a moment to remember the old timers, the women and men who built what we have today under circumstances that have never been easy and have often been impossible for us to imagine.
'One group of union workers was just recognised last month in the US Capitol: the merchant marine veterans of World War II. Some 250,000 merchant seamen served in World War II, carrying the supplies that defeated fascism.'
He said: 'This sacrifice was made by card-carrying union labour – a service rendered that was swiftly forgotten and unrewarded. There was no GI Bill for these seafarers until finally, almost 80 years later, a Congressional Gold medal was minted for the 1500 veterans who are still alive.'
US President Joe Biden also addressed the AFL-CIO congress – saluting union members for fighting to transform the economy.