Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) issued this statement to commemorate National Maritime Day:
“As we celebrate the 79th National Maritime Day in the U.S., we express our gratitude to the nation’s skilled maritime and longshore workers who endure hardships and make sacrifices to keep cargo and people moving and the economy thriving.
“A strong maritime industry is critical to our multi-modal transportation system and economy, and it plays a critical role in protecting national security. But because our ships and navigation channels are not as visible as congested highways, aging bridges and deteriorating transit systems, funding for our ports and waterways is far too often pushed down the priority list. This neglect must end.
“We also renew our vigorous support for a strong, privately owned U.S.-flag fleet through policies such as U.S. cargo preference laws and the Jones Act. These laws are essential if the U.S. is to keep an adequate pool of trained mariners capable of meeting sealift objectives. TTD is also 100 percent behind the RAMP Act – common sense legislation that would ensure funds collected under the Harbor Maintenance Tax go solely to maintaining our ports and waterways.
“The skilled employees in the maritime industry work tirelessly to keep our country and our economy moving, often in dangerous and trying circumstances. It is especially appropriate to pause today and thank these workers who risk their lives to preserve our freedom and our economic strength around the world.
“TTD honors these men and women on this 79th National Maritime Day and pledge to do even more to support their jobs and the industry to which they have dedicated their careers.”