February 16th 2016

The coalition of unions, MM&P along with the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific (SUP) and the Marine Firemen’s Union (MFOW), inaccurately dubbed “West Coast Unions” by American President Lines Ltd., have prevailed in their litigation to recover their crewing rights aboard the MV APL GUAM.

In a decision released today, Arbitrator Margaret R. Brogan ruled that APL had “violated the Unions’ collective bargaining agreements when it refused to crew the APL GUAM with employees represented by the Unions.” Determining that the MV APL GUAM was a “replacement vessel” for the MV APL CYPRINE, Arbitrator Brogan stated: “[i]n the end the Company may have the right to decide which subsidiary operates the APL GUAM, but it does not have the right to refuse to award this specific crewing work to the West Coast Unions.”

The decision vindicates the rights of MM&P, MEBA, SUP and MFOW members who have served aboard APL vessels since the inception of the Maritime Security Program (MSP) almost twenty years ago. The unions and their members presented a united front to APL.

MM&P Legal Counsel Gabriel Terrasa saluted the collective efforts of the legal team and the union-side witnesses who testified at the hearing, including SUP President Gunnar Lundeberg, MM&P Pacific Ports Vice President David Boatner and MEBA Contracts Officer Mark Gallagher.

“The contract work and testimony of Captain Boatner were instrumental in making MM&P’s case,” Terrasa said. “He was meticulous in his contract drafting work as well as in upholding our contract rights.”

Under the terms of the decision, the parties have thirty days in which to determine an appropriate remedy for APL’s contract breaches. Arbitrator Brogan will retain jurisdiction over the case to fashion an appropriate remedy herself if an agreement is not reached.

“The importance of this decision will reverberate throughout maritime labor,” said MM&P President Don Marcus. “Great thanks are owed to Gab Terrasa and the rest of the union legal team, to Dave Boatner and those who presented evidence at the hearing, and of course to our members aboard ship who kept their faith in their unions and to those ashore who are ready to regain their rightful billets at sea. Lastly, great appreciation is owed to the Arbitrator, Margaret Brogan, who was able to navigate through the thick fog of this complicated case and do justice to the mariners and their families whose jobs aboard APL MSP vessels are rightfully theirs.”