Cairo Port District Signs Labor Agreement
Developers of a port under development in Cairo, Ill., signed a project labor agreement April 27 with the Illinois AFL-CIO guaranteeing at least 500 union jobs in building it.
The Alexander-Cairo Port District represents one of the largest investments in southern Illinois in decades, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in announcing the port last August. The state’s Rebuild Illinois capital plan is providing $40 million in funding for construction of the port.
The port district is securing additional private investment and structuring the port as a public-private partnership, according to a news release from the port’s public relations firm announcing the labor agreement.
“Major logistics and commodities businesses have already committed to using the new port to move crops, container shipments and bulk products once it is completed,” the port said in the announcement.
American Patriot Holdings announced in September that it is among those partners, with the port district signing a memorandum of understanding to provide intermodal container-handling services for American Patriot Container Transport’s next-generation container shipping vessels, which will run on liquefied natural gas.
Roughly 80 percent of inland barge traffic in the nation travels past Cairo, local legislators have said repeatedly.
“The Cairo port district represents the best of Rebuild Illinois: investing in not only infrastructure, but also jobs and economic prosperity for a region left out for far too long,” Pritzker said. “Thanks to the Alexander-Cairo Port District and the Illinois AFL-CIO, more than 500 Illinois workers and their families will have access to good union jobs in the next stages of the port’s construction: opportunities that couldn’t come at a better time for the people of Illinois. Our building trades are top-notch, and I have every faith the team on the ground will deliver the state-of-the-art infrastructure southern Illinois deserves.”
State Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) also praised the announcement of the project labor agreement.
“With the inclusion of this PLA, we know that these well-paying construction jobs will go to Illinoisans, boosting our local economy and investing in the region,” he said. “I am confident that Alexander-Cairo Port will be game-changing for our state, spurring additional economic development and growth. With such a big undertaking, we could not move forward with this project without the incredible local labor workforce of southern Illinois spearheading its development.”
Tim Drea, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, said the port is exactly the kind of project Illinois needs.
“This port has the potential to transform the region and the men and women of Illinois organized labor have the talent to build it,” he said. “Our craftsmen and tradesmen are second to none, and we can’t wait to show it yet again on the Cairo Port project.”