MEBE Calls for Protection of Food Peace Program Jobs

Press Release
Monday, February 25, 2013

The Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A.) calls for continued funding of the Food for Peace (PL 480) & Food for Progress programs.

MEBA stands with 21 U.S. Senators and its United States maritime industry partners in protecting thousands of U.S. maritime and agricultural jobs by calling for continued funding of the Food for Peace (PL 480) and Food for Progress programs. These programs, administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development, create necessary cargo for the U.S.-Flag shipping industry through the delivery of vital overseas food assistance.

Recently, M.E.B.A. learned that the Obama Administration is considering major budgetary changes to these programs, switching them from in-kind food assistance to cash grants or purchasing food from allegedly cheaper foreign suppliers for Fiscal Year 2014.
M.E.B.A. opposes a restructuring of these programs because it would endanger the jobs of 44,000 American merchant mariners, farmers, shippers, processors, and port workers whose employment are reliant on food aid.

“The U.S. civilian mariners and U.S.-flag ships that carry this food aid are the same that delivered over 90 percent of the cargo to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. This cargo maintains vital jobs in the maritime sector and helps sustain the U.S.-flag commercial fleet, allowing us to keep the skills needed to boost national security and to remain globally competitive in the shipping market,” said Mike Jewell, M.E.B.A. President. “Without these programs we will lose the skilled mariners and vital ships needed to support our military’s sealift capacity, and we will demolish our ability to remain viable in worldwide maritime shipping.”

The Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association:
The M.E.B.A., America’s oldest maritime labor union, supplies U.S. Coast Guard-licensed deck and engineering officers in both the U.S. domestic and international trades. The Union was established in 1875. Its members serve aboard containerships, tankers, tugs and barges, research vessels and ferries.

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