The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) wishes to thank President Biden and his Administration on signing the Executive Order, “Strengthening ‘Buy American’ Provisions, Ensuring [the] Future of America is Made in America by All of America’s Workers,” that reinforces the federal requirement that purchases by the federal government include buy American provisions. For too long allowances were made to “look the other way” when spending taxpayer funds to support the goods and services of the federal government. This order reverses those long years that sent dollars and jobs overseas.
Specifically cited in the Executive Order is the Jones Act, a cornerstone of the American maritime economy. Nearly 124,000 workers’ employment, with combined salaries of $8.4 billion, are directly tied to the Jones Act in the eight Great Lakes states and contributes $30.66 billion to the Great Lakes states’ economies.
“The new Administration’s unequivocal support for the Jones Act is welcomed and paramount to the men and women ashore and afloat that are the foundation of American manufacturing, infrastructure, agriculture, and energy needs,” said John Clemons, American Maritime Officers National Vice President, Great Lakes and President of GLMTF.
With strong binational support in Congress, the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act also included the affirmation of the Jones Act has as an opportunity to invest in America’s workers and the future of America. The Administration and Congress are working in lock step to shore up this lynchpin of our economy.
“The Whitehouse has taken unprecedented action that supports the Great Lakes economy and homeland security. This Executive Order creates jobs and protects the pilot light of the nation’s manufacturing base which is the Great Lakes maritime industry,” stated Jim Weakley, President of the Lake Carriers’ Association which represents the operators of U.S.-flag Great Lakes shipping and is a member of GLMTF.
GLMTF is the largest coalition speaking for the Great Lakes shipping community, drawing its membership from both labor and management representing U.S.-flag vessel operators, shipboard and longshore unions, port authorities, cargo shippers, terminal operators, shipyards, and other Great Lakes interests.