White House Deference to Big Labor Impedes Gulf Oil Spill Cleanup Efforts
(Source: July 2010 Forced-Unionism Abuses Exposed) Roughly three months after BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded, killing 11 workers and instigating the biggest offshore oil spill ever to occur during peacetime, the Obama Administration faces mounting charges that, in order to avoid offending politically powerful union officials, it has obstructed operations to clean up the spill. A wide range of critics are focusing on the White House’s refusal, in the days after oil began spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from the sunken rig, to suspend the 90-year-old Jones Act. The Jones Act requires all shipping between U.S. ports or in U.S. coastal waters to be carried in U.S.-flagged ships that are owned and crewed by U.S. citizens. But presidential administrations can grant blanket waivers of the Jones Act during national emergencies. In recent years, the George W. Bush Administration temporarily suspended the Jones Act to assist recovery efforts after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. However, top bosses of the AFL-CIO-affiliated Seafarers International Union (SIU), with the backing of the entire AFL-CIO hierarchy, oppose a blanket waiver. Rather than cross Big Labor, and thus potentially risk losing some of its massive, forced dues-funded political support, the Obama Administration has required all foreign vessels that wish to participate in the cleanup and believe they may need a waiver to apply for one individually.