Working from an office in the capital, AMO protects its members' professional interests by helping to fend off persistent threats to laws and programs that sustain the fleet in foreign and domestic markets, and by promoting new opportunities for U.S.-flag vessel operators.
AMO's experienced, well-known and widely respected Washington staff monitors developments on Capitol Hill and tracks the work of government agencies, including the Maritime Administration and the Coast Guard, and the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command.
AMO's considerable legislative success can be largely attributed to the strength of the union's Voluntary Political Action Fund, which is supported by contributions from AMO members. The VPAF is used solely for Congressional campaigns and does not fund any AMO employee expenses or salaries.
AMO also works with other unions through the Maritime Trades Department of the AFL-CIO and with industry trade associations like American Maritime Officers Service and the Lake Carriers' Association on matters of common interest. AMO is an active supporter of American Maritime Partnership, which is working to preserve the Jones Act and comparable laws, and of the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, which promotes the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway shipping system and port range. The union is active in the International Transport Workers' Federation.
AMO's Principal Legislative Interests Include:
- U.S. Cabotage Laws: The Jones Act, Passenger Vessel Services Act and the Towing and Dredging Act - these statutes reserve waterborne shipping between domestic ports and U.S. territories for vessels built in the U.S., manned by U.S. citizens and owned and operated by U.S. companies.
- The Maritime Security Program: This program supports a fleet of 60 U.S.-flagged militarily useful commercial vessels operating in international trades.
- U.S. Cargo Preference Laws: These laws reserve shares of U.S. government cargoes - including shipments of military equipment and humanitarian food aid - and manufactured goods financed with assistance from the U.S. Export-Import Bank for U.S.-flagged commercial vessels operated by American companies.
- Dredging and Harbor Maintenance: These operations regularly require authorization and funding from the federal government to maintain U.S. harbors and channels at project depths for commercial shipping.
- Title XI: This program provides federal loan guarantees for private sector financing of the construction of merchant ships at American shipyards.
- Maximum peacetime crewing and operation of U.S. Ready Reserve Force sealift ships, which are managed by private-sector ship operators for the Maritime Administration.