Resolution on Piers 30 & 46 and the USCG Base in Seattle

September 22, 2022

WHEREAS, The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 19 represents the workers along the Seattle waterfront who load and unload domestic and international cargo, grain, and cruise vessels. The Union has long supported the importance of the maritime and industrial lands that support one in three jobs in Washington state. Our ports are vitally important to our nation, our state, and particularly to our farmers in Eastern Washington as they allow them to compete in the global markets.

WHEREAS, There has been considerable investment at federal, state, and local levels to build the infrastructure that makes the Port of Seattle viable. Besides the direct investments in upgrading the terminals, the Port of Seattle, along with various other freight mobility projects, has invested $300 million in the SR-99 Tunnel project, supported the heavy haul corridor along Alaskan Way, and advocated for various other freight mobility projects. In the last 20 years, hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in numerous freight improvement projects including State Route 519, the West Marginal Way flyover, the Lander Street grade separation, the Little H bridge grade separation, and the moving of the tail track out of the Lander rail yard.

WHEREAS, Pier 46 is currently being used as a container depot for USDA farm exports and other export/import shippers. Beginning in 2023, ships will resume calling at Pier 46 as a one-berth 65-acre terminal. The Union supports the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s (NWSA) desire that Pier 46 returns to a two-berth 87-acre terminal once the Coast Guard’s short-term lease ends.

WHEREAS, Pier 30 is currently a one-berth 82-acre terminal with six shipping lines conducting business operations there. The three container cranes on the pier are highly productive and are ideal for the smaller niche vessels that call there such as Westwood Shipping and Swire Lines. These vessels have been a lifeline for our Eastern Washington agricultural exporters.

WHEREAS, The Coast Guard’s short-term lease allows for dredging and rebuilding the four berths at Pier 36. This will allow the Coast Guard to create a home base for the Healy and the three Polar Security Cutters being built with no impact to POS cargo terminals. The Coast Guard’s Preliminary Environmental Impact Statement indicates that they may consider berthing four additional Offshore Patrol Cutters in Seattle in the future. In all three of the Coast Guard’s PEIS alternatives, the Coast Guard increases its footprint to six berths to accommodate the additional OPCs, resulting in the removal of cargo handling berths from Pier 30 & 46.

WHEREAS, It does not make sense to reduce cargo handling berths to accommodate six Coast Guard berths seeing as five berths can accommodate six or more ships on a rotational basis. Also, in the three PEIS alternatives, Piers 30 & 46 are used primarily for parking private vehicles, when a parking structure or offsite parking could be utilized.

WHEREAS, Coast Guard jobs are military maritime jobs, and some may use that to justify the displacement of civilian maritime jobs, but this position does not take into account the millions of federal, state, and local freight dollars already invested in the current maritime jobs, and the multiplier effect those jobs have on our local and state economy. For every single acre of container terminal capacity eliminated, the region loses the capacity to handle 3,500 TEUs annually and the associated jobs. With the current supply chain crisis and the finite supply of maritime industrial land, now is not the time to reduce the Port of Seattle’s container capacity.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, MLK Labor supports the position that, to maximize the Coast Guard’s existing footprint and minimize the impact on marine cargo operations, the following actions should be considered:

  • There should be a zero net loss of container space at Pier 30 & 46.
  • The fifth berth should be built on existing Coast Guard property.
  • Any increase in permanent staffing for the base should be located offsite and/or minimized.
  • The PMI training center and PMA semi and top handler training site should be relocated to other Port properties.
  • If Jack Perry Park encroaches upon it should be relocated and the street vacated.
  • MLK Labor will advocate for any construction work performed by a contractor or public authority to be completed using a project labor agreement.
  • The Port of Seattle and NWSA should purchase Pier 48 and the WOSCA property.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that MLK Labor supports protecting Piers 30 and 46 and the direct and indirect jobs that those marine terminals support

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