July 20, 2015
By John Quinn, LaborPress USA
Seattle, Washington – The 60 affiliated local trade unions of the Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council, have announced support for the Gateway Pacific Terminal expansion project (GPT) currently under review in the industrial port area of Cherry Point in Whatcom County. Earlier this spring, the Seattle/King County Building & Construction Trades Council endorsed the terminal project.
Calling the project of "statewide economic importance" Lee Newgent, executive secretary for the Washington Building & Construction Trades Council, praised the terminal expansion as critical to the state's long-term economic future.
"Development of the Gateway Pacific Terminal will create thousands of family-wage jobs in Western Washington and reinforce our future as a global trade leader," said Newgent. "Not only will the terminal be built to the highest environmental standards, but it will also be one of the most modern facilities of its kind in the world. From an environmental standpoint, this will be the best place to export those products. It will also better help our state's exporters capture a share of the world's markets for American workers."
The GPT project, sponsored by Seattle-based SSA Marine, will generate 4,400 full-time-equivalent jobs during two years of construction and 1,250 ongoing positions after construction is complete.
"Our members across the building trades have been suffering unemployment rates of 30-40 percent and higher for more than three years," added Newgent. "No other construction projects hold the promise of this scale or provide benefits over such a long-lasting timeframe. By developing these export terminals, we will bring industrial manufacturing jobs back to Washington state."
Both labor and business groups understand the importance of exports to the region as a means to strengthen trade economy and create jobs. The Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports, a non-profit trade organization that supports new export projects in Oregon and Washington state, includes a diverse collection of business groups, trade associations and ports who see the terminal projects as a way to create thousands of new jobs and raise millions in tax revenue.
"Building and Construction Trades Council members see the Gateway terminal as an opportunity to put people back to work and provide good family wage jobs in an area of the state that currently lacks this kind of long-term employment," said Newgent.