Viewpoint: Boston voters support working-class jobs on Boston Harbor – Boston Business Journal

By Kelly Strong – Boston Shipping Association Inc. Oct 27, 2021, 12:36pm EDT The Port of Boston has a long and well-known history of supporting the New England economy through its working waterfront and a reputation as a home to well-paid marine industrial jobs. The modern working port of Boston remains vibrant as growth in containerized cargo volumes, seafood-processing production, cruise ship passenger visits and other maritime-related businesses has been trending upward over the past decade. These maritime industries are well-positioned for continued growth and significant expansion when given the chance. In 2018, a Massport study found that 66,091 jobs and $8.2 billion of economic value was derived from the Port of Boston. Given that Boston’s working port is an economic engine, the question for our next mayor and future city leaders is how will they make certain that the needs and opportunities of the working waterfront will be a priority?  The Coalition for a Resilient and Inclusive Waterfront — of which my organization is a member — is an alliance of diverse nonprofit organizations focused on bringing the pressing issues facing Boston’s harbor and rivers to the forefront of the public conversation during this year’s city elections. In July, the coalition sponsored a poll that gauged the opinion of 635 likely Boston voters. That poll found especially strong support from voters for more investment in job creation on the waterfront for local residents. Black, Latinx and Asian American and Pacific Island (AAPI) voters who participated in the poll especially listed this as a significant priority for them.  The next mayor should recognize these findings and see the clamoring for more well-paying working-class jobs in Boston. Bostonians are feeling the crunch on their wallets more than ever as the cost-of-living soars to levels not seen in years. Now is the time to invest in and protect jobs that can sustain families, especially for those who choose a trade or blue-collar line of work.  Maintain water-dependent space Past support by federal, state and local governments for Boston’s maritime industry has resulted in a revitalized Port of Boston. The challenge the working port now faces is sustaining this support during a time when there is an increase in non-water dependent businesses advocating for the removal of the limited number of designated port area (DPA) protections. DPA designations were specifically put in place to foster maritime-related economic growth. Now more than ever, the working port and the thousands of good-paying blue-collar jobs there need support from federal, state and local officials to sustain what they have. Keeping the designated port areas in Charlestown, East Boston and South Boston in place is an especially important priority given that non-water-dependent development projects are consistently creeping into areas traditionally used by maritime businesses that require waterfront access. There has been extensive public and private investment throughout the port to modernize and sustain the maritime industry and the jobs it has created. The next mayor of Boston should advocate for the working port and strongly encourage state and federal partners to continue to recognize and build on the support they have consistently provided. 

Viewpoint: Boston voters support working-class jobs on Boston Harbor – Boston Business Journal

Leave a Reply