June 30th 2020

MM&P and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association have announced their endorsement of Vice President Joseph R. Biden in the race for President of the United States.

Biden has been a strong supporter of the US-flag fleet and a champion of working Americans throughout his professional life.

MM&P President Don Marcus and MEBA President Marshall Ainley informed the Vice President of the endorsement in a joint letter.

“During your tenured career of public service, you have stood strongly in support of the Jones Act, voted for the Maritime Security Act of 1996 that established the 60-vessel Maritime Security Program, and worked to ensure the long-term viability of the US-flag commercial fleet through our nation’s cargo preference laws,” the union presidents wrote on June 17.

“Your longstanding record in support of these policies recognizes the vital role American mariners play in advancing our economic and national security.”

“Your strong record in support of the labor movement speaks for itself through various laws that have expanded the wages, health care and retirement security of the hardworking men and women we represent.”

In his response, Biden underlined the crucial role that American mariners have always played in maintaining our country’s defense, security and economic strength.

“Maritime labor has always worked through peace and war and deserves our nation’s full support,” Biden said.

“I know your members are working around the clock during this pandemic to deliver the essential supplies our communities need.”

“As a lifelong advocate for working families and unions, I write to assure you of my strong and unwavering support for the [members of MM&P and MEBA] and the U.S.-flag Merchant Marine fleet.”

“Labor unions built the middle class and the middle class built this country. The basic building blocks of a good life––middle-class jobs at union wages, a 40-hour work week, health insurance, retirement benefits, a voice in the workplace––resulted from workers who organized unions and fought for worker protections.”

“And at a time when our country is facing unprecedented challenges, our economic future today depends on unions like yours…”

“Just as unions are essential to the middle class, the US-flag Merchant Marine fleet and the men and women who operate US-flag ships are crucial to America’s national security, our international trade relationships, and economic development.”

“For this reason, I have been a consistent and strong advocate for the Jones Act and its mandate that only US-flag vessels carry cargo in the coastwise trade. As President, I will continue my strong support for the Jones Act.”

“My support for the US-flag merchant fleet does not end with the Jones Act. I understand that merchant ships do not sail, and US merchant mariners do not work, unless they have cargo to carry.”

“I strongly support America’s cargo preference laws and the Cargo Preference Act.”

“Americans have big hearts while also caring deeply about defending democracy and America’s allies around the world. The surest expression of America’s commitment to these values is to ensure that the US flag flies over the US-built and US-crewed vessels that are delivering humanitarian aid or military supplies to countries around the world.”

“I also understand that exporting American-made goods to countries around the world is an effective strategy for increasing the number of middle-class jobs.”

“That’s one reason I strongly support the extended reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank and will ensure that it is able to operate at all times with a fully staffed board of directors committed to carrying out its mission.”

“Exports funded by the Export-Import Bank should be shipped on US-flag vessels. I will ensure this American cargo continues to move.”

“The Maritime Security Program is essential to America’s national defense and it has my strong support.”

“I understand that your members and the ships they sail are an integral and necessary part of our country’s military readiness. As a US Senator, I was proud to support the creation of the MSP in 1996 to enact the Maritime Security Act.”

“As President, I will support full funding of the MSP’s existing operating agreements, but I will go further: I will propose that Congress authorize and appropriate funds to increase the number of ships in the MSP fleet.”

“We must have a modern fleet to help us address modern threats in several regions of the world. The MSP must be secured if America is going to remain secure.”

“I want you to know that I will continue the fight alongside you when I am in the White House. These are principles I’ve embraced my entire career and they’re fundamental to my vision for a stronger, more inclusive middle class.”

“I’m proud to have stood with you in the past and it would be an honor to have your support in the upcoming election. If I win the nomination and make it to the White House, I promise you will have no stronger partner or advocate.”

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