The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) has weighed in with its opposition to the controversial $6.8-billion deal that would grant a company based in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the right to manage terminals at various U.S. ports.
“[It] would foolishly turn over control of our nation’s gateways to…the same nation that served as an operational and financial base for some of the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers,” said James. P. Hoffa, IBT general president.
Today at noon, the union is holding what it calls “Goodbye Dubai” rallies at 19 cities around the country to protest the deal.
President Bush has said that he would veto any legislation that would block the deal. He said that port security will continue to be managed by the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection and, furthermore, the UAE is an ally in the war on terror. He added that the company in question would basically control the off- and on-loading of cargo and that employees of the firm will still have to be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.
“If there was any chance that this transaction would jeopardize the security of this country, it would not go forward,” said President Bush.
Dubai Ports World, the UAE company, said it intends to finalize the transaction next week, but will “segregate” the U.S. operations to grant U.S. lawmakers time to be comfortable with the deal, according to The Wall Street Journal.