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<< March 2015 >>
S M T W T F S
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SANDY'S WRATH: DONATE

Important Links
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Action Center
Tell Congress to Oppose the McCain Amendment to the Keystone Pipleline Bill
Senator John McCain recently proposed an amendment to the pending Keystone XL bill that would open up new loopholes in the Jones Act as a special favor to oil refiners and another slap at the U.S. maritime industry. McCain has been a persistent critic of the Jones Act and its limits on shipments by foreign-flagged or foreign-built ships. McCain’s latest amendment would threaten national security by opening U.S. waterways to foreign vessels, jeopardizing jobs of American maritime workers who build, repair and sail U.S.-flagged vessels. The Jones Act was enacted nearly a century ago to ensure that the U.S. could maintain a viable maritime industry. It restricts U.S. domestic trade to U.S.-built vessels flagged, owned and controlled by U.S. citizens. Tell Congress to leave the Jones Act alone.
Ron's Rants
Dec 11 - Seaway Task Force
By Ron Ault
Sep 26 - Send a message on Nov. 4 - VOTE
By Ron Ault
Nov 27 - Happy Thanksgiving
By Ron Ault
Nov 11 - Veterans Day Thoughts
By Ron Ault
Aug 28 - Fifty Years Ago Organized Labor Was the Engine of Balance in this Country…It Can Be Again
By Ron Ault
What's New at MTD
Workers at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard Ratify New Four Year Contract
The Philadelphia Metal Trades Council (PMTC) announced today that workers voted to ratify a new four-year collective bargaining agreement at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard, Inc., the sole operating subsidiary of Aker Philadelphia Shipyard ASA. Read More...
Coast Guard chief: Repealing Jones Act jeopardizes U.S. fleet
By Leigh Munsil Politico 1/15/15 12:17 PM EST The commandant of the Coast Guard waded into the congressional fight over the Jones Act on Thursday, arguing that repealing it would jeopardize the U.S. fleet of trade vessels. Read More...
Oppose the McCain Amendment to the Keystone Pipeline Bill
Tell Congress to Oppose the McCain Amendment to the Keystone Pipeline Bill Senator John McCain recently proposed an amendment to the pending Keystone XL bill that would open up new loopholes in the Jones Act as a special favor to oil refiners and another slap at the U.S. maritime industry. Read More...
Download: DC-#9889149-v1-McCain_Amendment.PDF
Union Workers Extend Contract at Ingalls Shipyard
Washington, DC— The unionized workforce at Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Gulf Coast’s largest employer, Ingalls Shipbuilding. The deal ensures guaranteed raises, expanded health care options and twelve paid days off. “It’s a good contract and the workers voted to ratify overwhelmingly,” said Mike Crawley, president of the Pascagoula Metal Trades Council. Read More...
Austal USA Cited for the Third Time in Five Years for Serious Health and Safety Violations
WASHINGTON, DC—Navy shipbuilder, Austal USA, was cited November 18, 2014, by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for 12 serious health and safety violations. This was the third citation in the last five years.

The company was cited and fined for a dozen health violations including fall hazards; improperly secured gas cylinders; improper wiring, exposing workers to possible electrical shock, and other electrical hazards; failure to prevent accidental machine startup; improper machine guards exposing workers to potential amputations, puncture and being caught in machines; failing to properly store and label hazardous materials.  Some of the most concerning issues is the overexposure to copper fumes while welding, along with overexposure to aluminum dust. Fines totaled more than $40,000.

Austal USA, is the U.S. subsidiary of the Australian company Austal, LLC. The company builds the Independence Variant of the LCS Class high-speed for the U.S. Navy. 

“The government expects that contractors, such as Austal, should not only deliver a good product, but also conduct operations in a safe manner,” said Joseph Roesler, OSHA’s area director in Mobile, in a press release issued by OSHA. “The lack of attention to safety and health issues unnecessarily exposed employees to hazards at the Mobile facility, and these hazards need to be addressed and controlled throughout the shipbuilding process.”

“We have been saying for years that there are serious safety concerns in that shipyard,” said Ron Ault, president of the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO. “These are some of the most egregious violations that are putting workers at risk right now, but, also down the road. The company is failing to provide proper ventilation allowing workers to be overexposed to copper fumes and aluminum dust.  That failure can lead to illnesses later in life. We’ve had reports of numerous workers experiencing chronic respiratory issues, headaches, and nose bleeds. And, workers are being fired for missing work because they can’t get rid of these respiratory and flu like symptoms. A quick look at the Safety data sheets related to the potential health hazards from being exposed to these materials at Austal is alarming. Flu & pneumonia like symptoms, chronic respiratory issues, memory loss, pulmonary fibrosis, kidney problems and cancer are some of the most distressing health effects.”

The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO was contacted by workers seeking a union at the shipyard a few years ago and has been conducting an organizing campaign through their Mobile Metal Trades Council.

Austal receives billions dollars from their Navy contract and has received more than $100 million in funding from the state of Alabama. “With all of the government funding that this foreign company receives there is no excuse for ignoring basic health and safety laws,” said Ault. 

The Metal Trades Department is a trade department of the AFL-CIO. It was chartered in 1908 to coordinate negotiating, organizing and legislative efforts of affiliated metalworking and related crafts and trade unions. Seventeen national and international unions are affiliated with the MTD today. More than 100,000 workers in private industry and federal establishments work under contracts negotiated by MTD Councils. Workers retain membership in their own trade unions.

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