·  USW

USW Announces Opposition to 'Waterfront Protection Ordinance'

South Portland Tank Farm keeps energy costs low; creates good jobs in Maine

Contact:   Duane Lugdon, 207-621-2314; 207-514-6290;  dlugdon@usw.org

South Portland, ME (Oct. 21)  – The United Steelworkers (USW) in Maine announced today strong opposition to a ballot issue in November called the ‘Waterfront Protection Ordinance (WPO).’

John Shinn, director of USW District 4, representing thousands of active and retired industry workers who support their families in the state of Maine, said the Waterfront Protection Ordinance would directly threaten the 100 jobs of USW Local 366 members employed at the Portland Pipeline Corp., but also would impact employees at Gulf Oil Corp., and Cumberland Farms.

“The misnamed waterfront ballot proposal would cost millions in lost community revenue, unfairly target local businesses, and hurt consumers with increased fuel costs.”

Shinn said the USW would be mobilizing area USW leaders and workers who depend on the energy products maintained at the South Portland tank farm to vote “No” on the local ballot issue. “The USW and its members say the proposed ordinance will do nothing to protect the waterfront. Shinn adds: “The so-called Waterfront Protection Ordinance would not only devastate family supportive jobs we represent at the tank farm, but would hurt the regional economy dependent on heating fuel, jet fuel and fuel for commercial vessels and fishing fleets.”

The USW has joined a coalition called: Save Our Working Waterfront. The group includes area businesses to educate voters for a defeat of the poorly-written ballot proposition. Shinn cited the economic impact report by a Portland-based consulting firm, Planning Decisions Inc., which was released Sept. 23 showing the South Portland tank farm spends nearly $38 million annually in the local economy, including $9 million in pay and benefits.

He added that the study showed spending and economic benefits from sales extends to other jobs, with a total commercial impact on South Portland and its regional economy amounting to $64 million supporting 335 jobs.  “Over a ten-year period, Maine would lose approximately 5,600 jobs as a consequence if we don’t defeat this ill-conceived ballot proposal.”

Shinn said the terminal and tank farm industry serves as the anchor for the entire Port of Portland, accounting for 84% of the port’s cargo vessels and 94% of its total cargo.

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing 850,000 workers employed in the manufacturing, service and resource sectors of steel, mining, concrete, paper, rubber, chemicals, metal fabrication, transportation and energy sources that include oil refining and renewables.

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