Washington Labor Leader Max Vekich on Track to be Confirmed as Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission

Cantwell: “Mr. Vekich knows port and shipping communities firsthand. He spent his life working in the maritime industry … and I know he understands the importance of what a maritime economy is to the State of Washington's economy.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announced that the committee voted to approve President Biden’s nomination of Washington labor leader Max Vekich to be a Commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission.  The Commission is responsible for regulating agreements between American exporters and the shipping companies that carry their goods to ensure they are fair and competitive. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented port congestion and supply chain disruptions. Businesses and Americans are feeling the pinch of rising prices and shortages on everyday products.  At this critical time in our country, the Commission plays an important role in oversight, investigations and regulation of detention and demurrage, information flow, and enforcement of unfair practices by foreign shipping companies. Vekich’s nomination must now be approved by the full Senate. 

“The perspective and experience that Mr. Vekich will bring to this position of Commissioner is needed in this moment,” Cantwell said at the nomination hearing in October“He has a unique career first serving as a member of the Washington Legislature, followed by a long career as a longshoreman in Grays Harbor and in Seattle. Mr. Vekich knows port and shipping communities firsthand. He spent his life working in the maritime industry, and knows the challenges faced by the maritime and intermodal transportation system. And I know he understands the importance of what a maritime economy is to the State of Washington's economy and knows how important it is to our national economy as well.” 

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Chair of the Committee, spoke in favor of Vekich both at his October 20th nomination hearing and today. ?

Max Vekich is a native of Aberdeen, Washington. He served four consecutive terms as the representative for the 35th Legislative District in Washington state’s House of Representatives from 1983-1991, alongside Maria Cantwell for several years (1987 to 1991). During Vekich’s tenure, he served as Chair of three committees: Agriculture, Trade & Economic Development, and Commerce & Labor.

The FMC plays a crucial role in ocean transportation and keeping America competitive. Said Cantwell: “The independent federal agency is responsible for ensuring the ocean and shipping and commerce remain fair and competitive. In light of many issues, COVID challenges, and congestion, I think his nomination is pivotal to making sure that we have the right decision making in place. He is the right person for this job and is supported by both labor and business industry.”

Cantwell went on to say, “I want a Federal Maritime Commission that looks at increasing competition and making sure that we get products to people who need them. So somebody who has served on the docks for much of his life is certainly a nominee that understands what it takes to be making important decisions on this activity.” 

In 2004, Vekich joined the Port of Seattle to supervise the loading and unloading of vessels. He also served as a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s executive board.

Vekich is married to Marcee Stone, they have three adult children and four grandchildren. Two of his children are longshore workers and his daughter-in-law is currently in training.

Video of Senator Cantwell’s remarks on Vekich is available HERE and HERE, audio is HERE and HERE, and a transcript is HERE. 

Video of Senator Cantwell’s remarks from the October 20th nomination hearing is available HERE, audio is HERE, and a transcript is HERE.