Washington State Labor Leader Max Vekich Sworn-In as a Federal Maritime Commissioner

ICYMI: Cantwell helped secure Vekich’s confirmation in floor speech before the final vote.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Max Vekich, labor leader and Aberdeen, Washington native, had his official swearing in ceremony as a commissioner of the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). In February, Commissioner Vekich was quickly sworn-in following his Senate confirmation so he could immediately get to work on the supply chain crisis. Vekich spent more than 40 years working in the maritime industry, and is the first commissioner who served as a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s (ILWU) executive board, and is the first FMC commissioner from Washington state.

His confirmation secures a Democratic majority on the Federal Maritime Commission, which is responsible for regulating agreements between American exporters and the shipping companies that carry their goods to ensure they are fair and competitive. At the official swearing-in ceremony, Senator Cantwell said the following:

“Max, as a commissioner on the Federal Maritime Commission, will bring a view about why it's important to get these issues done in a timely fashion. Why? Because he's worked so hard for so long on those same issues. He knows what it takes to deliver a product in a timely fashion…We couldn't be more excited that we're also giving the Federal Maritime Commission new tools to crack down on unfair detention and demurrage charges and an authority to take action that helps U.S. exporters get their products to overseas markets.”

Senator Cantwell helped champion the recently passed bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, which aims to level the playing field for American exporters and importers by providing the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) the tools it needs to improve oversight over international shipping lines, and crack down on rising shipping fees. The Ocean Shipping Reform Act now goes to the House for final passage.

In February 2022, Vekich was confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 51-43. Cantwell spoke on the floor of the Senate to push for Vekich’s confirmation just prior to the vote. In the Senator’s remarks, Cantwell stated, “Mr. Vekich knows what it takes to move product from the heartland. He knows that in our Washington ports we are helping U.S. farmers get their products to market. So I know whether that’s wheat or soybeans, or other ag products, he knows what it takes to move them and what it takes for us to continue to improve the efficiency of our ports.”

Vekich served four consecutive terms as the representative for the 35th Legislative District in Washington state’s House of Representatives from 1983-1991. During Vekich’s tenure, he served as Chair of three committees: Agriculture, Trade & Economic Development, and Commerce & Labor.

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 floor remarks ahead of Vekich’s confirmation vote is available HERE.

A full transcript of Senator Cantwell’s floor remarks is available HERE.