August 14, 2007

Democrats To Scuttle Delta Queen

The Delta Queen riverboat has a wooden super structure. It has operated as a National Historic Landmark via a federal exemption to a Coast Guard prohibition against wooden hulls and superstructures since 1966.

Via the Tribune Review: Big Labor could sink the Delta Queen. If it does, a ripple effect will wash over the Pittsburgh economy. Local congressmen don't seem to care, even though the vessel will dock in the 'Burgh about a dozen times in 2008.

Built in 1926, the Delta Queen is a U.S. National Historic Landmark and the last original paddle-wheel steamboat offering overnight cruises. Her 19th-century charm includes 87 staterooms with period furnishings.

It's Americana with a calliope.

Please go online to see what the Seafarers International Union and its congressional cabin boys want to scuttle.

So why have Democrats suddenly become so concerned about safety on the Delta Queen after 41 years?
"The committee did not have an issue with the Delta Queen being a wooden superstructure," says Jeff Urbanchuk, spokesman for Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg. Mr. Shuster is on the transportation committee.

A union dispute is the primary issue, Mr. Urbanchuk says.

The Democrats oppose the waiver because current ownership did not accept the collective bargaining contract when it bought the historic asset. Unfortunately, the Republicans did not have the votes to successfully introduce an amendment to grant another exemption, Urbanchuk says.

Two of the the congressmen blocking the exemption in committee are U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills and U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless.

For what it's worth, Democrat Brad Ellsworth of Indiana has pledged to support a new exemption.

Please voice your support for keeping the historic Delta Queen afloat on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. It seems to me that if the boat is scuttled it really won't matter if the jobs are union or non-union because those jobs will be gone.

By Howie at 12:32 PM | Comments |