Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hoffa Calls on Congress to Block Bush-Supported Dubai Takeover of U.S. Ports

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters calls on members of Congress in both parties to ignore President Bush's empty veto threats and press ahead with plans to block a state-owned Arab company from taking over operations of six major seaports in the United States that remain vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Bipartisan support is growing to stop the dangerous Bush-Cheney giveaway to Middle Eastern oil barons. The $6.8 billion deal would foolishly turn over control of our nation's gateways to Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- the same nation that served as an operational and financial base for some of the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers.
This is yet another example of President Bush's corporate agenda gone wild. Just one month ago, the president nominated an executive at Dubai Ports World to run the Transportation Department's Maritime Administration. Now, not only would the UAE have unfettered access to America's ports, it would control the controller. Further, the sale was developed in complete secrecy and failed to incorporate experts in the field -- including the head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
I urge Congress to act quickly to prevent the illogical, Bush-supported sale of the current ports manager, London-based P&O, to Dubai Ports World. There are three major, reputable U.S.-owned terminal operating companies that could bid on P&O's U.S. based assets if given the chance. They should be given that chance.
The Teamsters Union is perplexed by the Bush administration's willingness to ignore the obvious increased security threats of opening our nation's ports to the UAE while invoking dubious concerns about supposed terrorist risks in depriving U.S. citizens employed by the Homeland Security Department of their right to form and join unions. Union members were both victims and heroes during the 9-11 tragedy. Treating union members as a security risk while, at the same time, turning over vital operations of the nation's ports to companies based in countries known to harbor terrorists raises serious questions about the administration's true agenda.
The Teamsters Union has been calling for several years for better security at our nation's ports while fighting to secure safe working conditions for port drivers.

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