Just as the midterm elections brought change to Washington, Matson Navigation signed a deal for three new Aloha-class containerships to be built in Philadelphia. Intense objection and scrutiny came from Congress over the recent Department of Homeland Security waiver of the Jones Act in Puerto Rico. The SUP celebrated the historic wartime contributions of members and U.S. merchant mariners on Veterans Day and wishes everyone at sea and ashore a Happy Thanksgiving.
After all the hardship and pain of the pandemic, SUP members approved a raise and a new Agreement with APL. This issue breaks down the issues and the outcome, providing detail on the bargaining and the benefits. Pensioners get their own recognition and the fight goes on. The Garamendi cargo preference bill is analyzed as well as the predatory Jones Act disaster waiver process. A new study finds long-time Union members earn more on average than college graduates and the 28th Convention of the SIUNA gets some ink. That and more in the October issue of the West Coast Sailors.
SUP sailors in coastwise meetings voted for a strike resolution as negotiations continued with American President Lines. Warning that worsening conditions and declining pay was unacceptable, especially as the profits of shipping companies soared while essential workers struggled. The resolution does not mean sailors are walking off their ships, or necessarily going on strike, but it is a strong endorsement to streamline the procedure in favor of fast action. Meanwhile, the supply-chain rail unions seek deal ratification, China resumed lockdowns and Hurricane Fiona flooded Puerto Rico.
The world's biggest container lines are in general on course to post remarkable profits in 2022, amid ongoing pandemic buying and a logistical squeeze. Recruitment difficulties in the U.S. military are highlighted in this issue as a window on the competitive labor market and the AFL-CIO calls out corporate execs on the negative effects of excessive pay. President Biden seals a string of victories with the Inflation Reduction Act and the Coast Guard honors the life-saving efforts of the SUP crew in CMA-CGM Herodote.
At its Convention, America's unions made the Jones Act a keystone feature of its support for maritime working families. Meanwhile, the SUP remembered Bloody Thursday, and throughout the supply chain tense negotiations continued. Ukraine is the latest excuse for attacks on cargo preference and a foreign gas trader's Jones Act waiver request. Matson commits to LNG fuel on an indefinite schedule and a Spanish galleon is "discovered" off the coast of Oregon while SUP crews do the impossible on a daily basis.
Delegates to the AFL-CIO Convention this month elected the Federation's first woman president, and Fred Remond became the first African-American Secretary-Treasurer. The unsung heroes of World War II, the U.S. merchant mariners who delivered the war-fighting gear necessary to defeat fascism, got more official recognition via a Congressional Gold Medal. The ILWU contract with West Coast terminal operators was set to expire without a new contract but neither side expected any immediate action. Meanwhile, Jones Act battles flared as labor took up new defense of the nation's cabotage laws.