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Legislation Strengthens Cargo Preference Laws, Helps Veterans Enter U.S. Mariner Workforce

WASHINGTON, D.C.—TTD President Edward Wytkind issued the following statement today on the Howard Coble Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2014:

“We are pleased that congressional negotiators have reached an agreement on the Coast Guard’s 2014 Reauthorization bill and urge the House and Senate to approve this legislation before Congress adjourns for the year. This bill includes a number of important provisions championed by transportation labor that will protect and enhance the U.S. maritime industry and the workers employed in this critical sector of our economy.

“The legislation helps ensure that federal agencies charged with transporting U.S. cargo will honor existing cargo preference laws. By granting the Department of Transportation the clear authority to determine when cargo preference laws apply, we can bring consistency and transparency to this process and stop those who seek to undermine or evade these requirements. Cargo preference laws require that U.S. workers and U.S.-flag ships move vital government cargo and are a strategic benefit to our nation, the U.S. military, and the maritime workforce. But to be effective, cargo preference rules must be strongly enforced and this legislation provides a common-sense framework to accomplish this objective.

“The legislation also provides a critical bridge to our veterans by helping place them in good-paying jobs aboard U.S. vessels after they return from military duty. The bill removes outdated rules that fail to properly document Armed Service members’ time at sea. With passage of this legislation, retired service members will now be better able to put their skills to work as officers in the commercial maritime industry.”

Contact: Elizabeth Weinberg, 202-628-9262, elizabethw@ttd.org

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