Employers & Unions Sign Letter in Support of American Offshore Workers


Published Mar 1, 2022 4:42 PM by The Maritime Executive

[By: Offshore Marine Service Association]

More than 100 executives from around the U.S. marine industry sent a letter to U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA), U.S. Representative Garret Graves (R-LA), and U.S. Representative John Garamendi (D-CA) proudly endorsing and thanking the trio for introducing S. 3705/H.R. 6728, the American Offshore Worker Fairness Act (AOWFA).

The letter began, “The American Offshore Worker Fairness Act will provide parity between U.S.-flagged and foreign-flagged vessels operating in U.S. offshore energy activities and ensure that U.S. energy creation means U.S. jobs.” The letter was signed by executives representing a diverse cross section of the U.S. maritime industry with signers representing vessel operators, shipyards, suppliers, and their trade associations, specifically the Offshore Marine Service Association, the Shipbuilders Council of American, and the American Waterway’s Operators.

Of the letter, OMSA President and CEO, Aaron Smith said, “the simple fairness contained in the legislation has resonated with employers and labor leaders from Oregon to Massachusetts. It’s clear, all those who work in the U.S. maritime industry understand that our mariners, shipyard workers, and other professionals are second to none, but they can’t complete with foreign counterparts that are paid second-rate wages. 

The Shipbuilders Council of America (SCA) also weighed in on the letter, “SCA is proud to sign on to this letter on behalf of the 400,000 men and women working in America’s shipyard industry.  We applaud the leadership of Senator Cassidy, Representative Graves and Representative Garamendi for standing up for our domestic workforce,” said Matthew Paxton, President of the Shipbuilders Council of America. “Foreign maritime workers have been given a leg up on our American workforce for decades and this legislation is a crucial step in closing this loophole.”

The letter also stated, “it is our pleasure to employ U.S. mariners.  Their competency, safety, and professionalism are second to none. Furthermore, by working in the commercial maritime sector, these mariners maintain a valid U.S. Coast Guard license, thereby enabling them to serve in the Ready Reserve Force and participate in the mobilization of our military during times of war.”

The American Offshore Worker Fairness Act seeks to close a loophole in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) intended to promote the hiring of U.S. offshore workers in U.S. offshore energy activities, while also ensuring these workers had access to offshore energy work in foreign waters. This loophole—while well-intentioned—has not provided reciprocal access to foreign waters for U.S. mariners or companies but has allowed foreign companies with foreign workers from any nation to work on U.S. offshore energy projects paying wage rates far below those commanded by American mariners.

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