U.S. Labor Seeks Ban on Some Foreign Ship Parts

Tuesday, January 16, 2007
The Metal Trades Department of the AFL-CIO has sued the U.S. Coast Guard over allowing domestic shipyards to use preassembled foreign ship parts and engines, Ron Ault, president of the MTD, said on Tuesday. Preassembled ship parts require little or no assembly at U.S. shipyards, and cut the need for U.S. labor at these yards, he told Reuters in an interview. MTD, a trade department of the American federation of labor unions, coordinates negotiating, organizing and legislative efforts of affiliated metal-working and related crafts and trade unions. Angela McArdle, a U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman, said it was the Coast Guard's policy not to comment on pending litigation. MTD's suit, filed late last week in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, charges that a ruling issued on May 24, 2006, and affirmed on Nov. 15 by the National Vessel Documentation Center ignores the requirements of the Jones Act which stipulate that ships moving between U.S. ports must be "built in" the United States. The rulings authorized plans by Aker Shipyards Philadelphia and NASSCO, a division of General Dynamics , to produce about 22 new 45,000-ton capacity oil product tankers that are assembled from thousands of parts and modules imported from South Korea, he said. Source: Reuters

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