August 2nd 2016

Delegates to the 86th MM&P Convention, now known as the Tim Brown Memorial Convention, welcomed a series of high-powered speakers to the union’s training institute in Linthicum Heights, Md., last week.

They also deliberated a number of resolutions submitted by the members and heard reports from the union’s leadership team.

The convention included a memorial service for MM&P President Emeritus Timothy Brown.

It culminated in the nomination of candidates for elected office.

It was the first convention for delegates representing the new MM&P Atlantic Maritime Group (AMG), which merged into Masters, Mates & Pilots at the beginning of 2015.

Unions and labor groups participating in the convention included: the Inland Boatmen’s Union (IBU); the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA); the Maritime Labor Alliance (MLA); the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA); Nautilus, which represents British, Dutch and Swiss maritime officers; the Organization of Black Maritime Graduates (OBMG); and the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD).

Richard Phillips, the captain of the MAERSK ALABAMA when it was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009, kept the audience transfixed with the story of what happened when the ship was seized and during the four days he was held hostage on a lifeboat.

“I’m so grateful for what the union has given me,” said Phillips, an MM&P member for over 37 years. “Fair pay for a fair job, every day.”

Long-time MM&P employer Trinity Management was represented by Steve Miceli, his son Steve Jr. and his granddaughter Heather, the third generation of the family to enter company management.

Also attending the convention was former AFL-CIO President and Secretary-Treasurer Tom Donahue. Donahue serves on the Board of Directors of MM&P’s new charity, The Captain Richard Phillips and Lane Kirkland Maritime Trust.

A delegation of the Panama tugboat captains’ union, Unión de Capitanes y Oficiales de Cubierta (UCOC), was also in attendance.


MM&P President Don Marcus opened the proceedings by extending a warm welcome to the AMG delegates.

“AMG is a proud part of our past and a bright part of our future,” Marcus said.

“The mariners of New York Harbor are back where they can be served best and we are doing everything we can to build the Atlantic Maritime Group and make New York Harbor a 100 percent union waterfront once again.”

In his report, Marcus addressed challenges the union has faced since the last convention, as well as high points such as the new relationship with Schuyler Line Navigation and the award of additional government contracts to Patriot Contract Services and Matson.


Awards for meritorious service were given to Pacific Ports Vice President Dave Boatner, Gulf Ports Vice President Wayne Farthing and United Inland Group Vice President Mike Murray, who collectively have served the union for 107 years.

Pilots Group Vice President George Quick received an award from the union for meritorious service.

In addition, MITAGS Executive Director Glen Paine presented him with an award on behalf of the MATES Program for sharing his knowledge of “the quickly evolving world of international regulation and STCW.”


Among the ILA officials who attended the convention were: Executive Vice President Dennis Daggett; Secretary-Treasurer Steven Knott; and General Organizer John D. Baker.

They spoke of the importance of union coalitions that span jurisdictions and borders, a case in point being the Maritime Labor Alliance, which includes the ILA, MM&P, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), MEBA, the IBU and the American Radio Association.
MM&P is the marine affiliate of the ILA.

“Solidarity is our key word,” ILA Executive Vice President Dennis Daggett told the delegates.

“Our affiliation, nearly a half-century strong, has represented the best in union solidarity, mutual respect and worker power,” said ILA General Organizer John D. Baker.

ILA Vice President Ken Riley spoke of the importance of teamwork in the context of a hard-fought drive by the ILA and other labor groups to organize a union in the port of Freeport in the Bahamas. The fight lasted more than three years. “I’m proud to say we now have a union with a collective bargaining agreement in the Freeport container port,” he said.

Ed Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD), gave a rousing defense of the Maritime Security Program and the Jones Act. “We are doggedly committed to MSP,” he said. “And we’re never going to let the Jones Act get repealed.”

MM&P is one of 32 transportation sector unions that belong to TTD.

In his remarks, Wytkind thanked MM&P for supplying “the underpinnings” of TTD’s campaign to defend the jobs and working conditions of U.S. aviation workers against a “flag-of-convenience airline” that employs cabin and flight crews from low-wage countries such as Thailand and Singapore.

Mark Dickinson, general secretary of Nautilus International, spoke of the essential role of “cross-border cooperation in today’s world.”

“Despite Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, we live in a deeply interconnected world,” he said.

“Our commitment to protect our members remains undimmed after Brexit,” he added.

Tom Mackell, executive director of the Maritime Labor Alliance, spoke on the topic of pensions and the lack of retirement security in the United States.

“The American pension system is basically destroyed,” said Mackell, the author of the 2008 book “When the Good Pensions Go Away: Why America Needs a New Deal for Pension and Healthcare Reform.”

“We in the maritime industry are mandated to be involved in politics to protect the interests or our seagoing and shore-side members,” he said.

IBU President Alan Cote spoke of the battle being waged in Alaska to defend the jobs of IBU and MM&P United Inland Group–Pacific Maritime members on Prince William Sound.

“I’m proud to be associated with your union,” he said. “Our solidarity is critical to our success.”

“The Maritime Labor Alliance is doing great work: everything is firing on all cylinders,” agreed MEBA President Marshall Ainley, who addressed this initiative at the convention.


The following nominations for elected office were made on the last day of the convention: International President–Donald J. Marcus; International Secretary-Treasurer–Steven E. Werse; Offshore Group Vice President Atlantic Ports–Donald F. Josberger; Offshore Group Vice President Gulf Ports (subject to referendum, Gulf Ports and Government Affairs)–Klaus Luhta; Offshore Group Vice President Pacific Ports–Douglas B. Adriance and J. Lars Turner; Vice President United Inland Group–Pacific Maritime Region–Timothy C. Saffle; Vice President United Inland Group–Great Lakes & Gulf–Thomas E. Bell; Vice President Pilots Group–George A. Quick; Vice President Federal Employees Membership Group–Randall H. Rockwood; Vice President Atlantic Maritime Group–Stephen H. Doherty and Ronald Tucker.

An International Ballot Committee was seated. A 90-day ballot will be mailed to members in the coming weeks. The new administration will take office on Jan. 1, 2017.


The convention ended with a tribute to MM&P President Emeritus Captain Timothy A. Brown, during which speakers, delegates, MM&P officials and employees shared their memories of the iconic union leader who died on April 10.

MM&P President Don Marcus read a eulogy in which he remembered Tim’s intelligence, strength and dedication to the members of Masters, Mates & Pilots.

“For me, Tim Brown was proof that there are indeed people who can be described as having the heart of a lion,” he said.

“We are proud of what Tim has given to our brothers and our sisters, and proud of what he has achieved in our industry.”

Representing the family was Captain Brown’s cousin, Kathleen Lohse. Former MM&P Comptroller Beverly A. Gutmann, who stood by his side throughout his union career and during his illnesses, was also in attendance and delivered a brief and moving reminiscence.

Brown gained office in 1991 as an insurgent candidate in a badly fractured organization. After six terms at the helm, he left a legacy of stability, integrity and dedication to the membership of the Masters, Mates & Pilots.

MM&P Pilots Group Vice President George Quick described how Tim came to office in extremely difficult times and then “turned the union around.”

“Tim brought stability and respect to our organization,” said MM&P International Secretary-Treasurer Steve Werse. “His achievements laid a foundation of integrity and unity on which the membership of our union can build going forward.”

“Captain was an appropriate rank for Tim Brown,” said the ILA’s John Baker. “He was a leader, he was courageous and he protected his crew.”