Calls intensify to revitalize shipbuilding industry in North America
For decades, the domestic shipbuilding and repair industries “were in decline due to overseas competition, where cheap labor and non-existent job site standards created an unfair competitive advantage for foreign shipbuilders,” according to the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Sprinkler Fitters, Welders and HVACR Technicians (UA). Delegates will consider the issue of domestic shipbuilding during the union’s 39th General Convention, to be held in San Diego, California, Monday-Friday, August 1-5.
In a resolution submitted to the 3,000 delegates to the convention, the UA notes that “despite these challenges, the U.S. shipbuilding industry continues to employ 500,000 American workers in 300 facilities across 27 states” and “adds nearly $100 billion to the U.S. economy each year.”
The resolution also reads, in part: “The future of the economies and national security of both the United States and Canada depend upon further investment and expansion of domestic shipbuilders and repairers, so that both countries can address issues such as enlarging their fleet of ice-breaking ships in the Arctic Ocean, modernizing their naval combat vessels, and meeting the growing need for product tankers to handle the increase in domestic oil and gas production.”
The resolution, which will be discussed and debated by delegates to the convention, calls for “increased investment in and expansion of shipbuilding and repair in the United States and Canada,” as well as increased unionization of the men and women employed in this sector.