MM&P: An Organization of Maritime Professionals

The members of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P) include the world’s best-qualified and most highly trained professional mariners. MM&P represents: licensed deck officers on U.S.-flag commercial vessels sailing offshore, on the inland waterways and on civilian-crewed ships in the government fleet; mariners who work on tug, ferry and harbor tour vessels in New York Harbor and throughout the Northeast; licensed and unlicensed mariners who work on dredges; state pilots; marine engineers; unlicensed seafarers; and maritime industry shore side clerical and service workers.

The union is a dynamic advocate for its 7,500 members and a voice in Washington, D.C., for the domestic maritime industry and America’s Merchant Marine. MM&P is the marine affiliate of the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA), AFL-CIO.

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The Founding of MM&P

Captain Charles Smith

Capt. Charles Smith

MM&P had its origins in a tragic fire that broke out aboard the side paddle-wheeler Seawanhaka on June 28, 1880, following a boiler room explosion that took place as the vessel transited New York Harbor. As the flames spread rapidly through the wooden-hulled ship, Captain Charles P. Smith stayed at the helm, suffering severe burns as he maneuvered to the shallow waters off Hell Gate, a narrow tidal strait in the East River, where the passengers could safely escape. Although Captain Smith was ultimately recognized for heroism, he was first made a scapegoat by local politicians. “Eventually he was cleared of any wrongdoing,” wrote Frank O. Braynard, maritime historian and curator of the American Merchant Marine Museum at Kings Point, “but the treatment he received so outraged his colleagues, other pilots and captains, that they formed a committee. That committee was the genesis of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots.”


MM&P’s Mission

The Seawanhaka

The Steamboat Seawanhaka

MM&P was created to protect the rights and working conditions of members of the seagoing maritime community. The union fulfills its mission by: representing MM&P members in negotiations with shipowners; supporting the efforts of other maritime unions to achieve decent working conditions; and working with international organizations to improve standards and conditions in the global maritime community.

MM&P seeks to improve the maritime working environment through political action and involvement in the regulatory process that shapes laws and regulations governing maritime work. On the national level, MM&P represents the interests of mariners before Congress and the many governmental agencies that regulate shipping or whose decisions affect mariners, such as the U.S. Coast Guard, the Maritime Administration, the Department of Defense and the Department of State. On the international level, because oceangoing shipping is regulated through United Nations organizations, MM&P actively participates in the work of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), representing the interests of all mariners at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO).


MM&P’s Structure

MM&P has five membership groups: the Offshore Group; the United Inland Group; the Pilots Group; the Atlantic Maritime Group; and the Federal Employees Membership Group. The union has two international officers: Donald Marcus, President and Steven Werse, Secretary-Treasurer. There are eight Vice Presidents: Thomas Bell, United Inland Group-Great Lakes & Gulf; Stephen H. Doherty, Atlantic Maritime Group; Don Josberger, Offshore Group-Atlantic Ports; Klaus Luhta, Offshore Group-Gulf & Government Affairs; George A. Quick, Pilots Membership Group; Randall H. Rockwood, Federal Employees Membership Group; Timothy Saffle, United Inland Group-Pacific Maritime Region; and J. Lars Turner, Offshore Group-Pacific Ports.

MM&P is the marine affiliate of the International Longshoremen’s Association. The union maintains a close working relationship with other AFL-CIO seagoing and shore-side maritime unions. MM&P is a member of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD).

In addition to its international headquarters outside of Baltimore, MD, MM&P has:

  • Two training facilities; the Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies and the Pacific Maritime Institute, both of which house state-of-the-art maritime simulators;
  • An employer-funded, trust-administered, health and benefit plan with headquarters near Baltimore and additional offices around the country;
  • Hiring halls in port cities throughout the continental United States and Hawaii, and on the Great Lakes;
  • 35 affiliated state and U.S. Navy civil service pilot groups in the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico;
  • A legislative presence through the Maritime Institute for Research & Industrial Development (MIRAID), in Washington, DC.