News

Wheelhouse Weekly – December 06, 2011

December 6th 2011

 

– Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use –

Volume 15 . . . . . Number 49. . . . December 6, 2011

STORIES COVERED

Did you miss a week? Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the section.


ANTI-LABOR POLITICIANS MOUNT FULL-SCALE ATTACK ON NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the government agency charged with protecting workers’ rights and limiting industrial conflicts, is seeing its very existence called into question by a ceaseless barrage of attacks from anti-labor politicians in Congress. Since January, politicians have made nearly 50 separate assaults on the NLRB, from bills to gut its power and funding to hearings and subpoenas aimed at making it impossible for agency staff to function. In one of the most recent attempts to shut the board down, its Republican member, Brian Hayes, is threatening to resign and deprive it of the number of voting members needed to act.

The NLRB provides protections to 77 percent of all private sector workers in the United States, both unionized and nonunionized. Its mandate extends to protecting employers too, by regulating labor relations so as to reduce workplace strife.

“We’re seeing something today I haven’t seen in all my working life: an open attack on the rights of workers to form unions and an attempt to put the nation’s labor relations laws into cold storage,” says Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.). Miller made the remarks last week during an AFL-CIO forum to call attention to the war being waged on the NLRB.

The impact of the attacks extends beyond the nation’s unionized workforce, threatening to further undercut the financial wellbeing of the country’s entire middle class. “There is a strong connection between the right of workers to form unions and collectively bargain and the strength of the middle class,” said another speaker at the AFL-CIO forum, David Madland, a director with the Center for American Progress. “The inability to protect workers’ rights over the last 30 years is the biggest factor in the growth of income inequality in this country,” he added.

“Organizing and collective bargaining are not just about unions, but about the middle class,” says Iowa Democrat Sen. Tom Harkin. “We have to stop the dismantling of the NLRB. We have to draw a line in the sand.”


HORIZON LINES SETTLES LAST CLAIMS IN ANTI-TRUST SUIT

Horizon Lines said last week it has reached a settlement agreement with all the large shippers who had earlier opted out of participating in the class action settlement it concluded in 2009. The shippers had filed suit against Horizon Lines and several other domestic carriers over allegations of price fixing in the Puerto Rico trade lane between 2002 and 2008. Under the terms of the settlement, Horizon Lines will make payment of $13.75 million in exchange for full release of all antitrust claims. “We are very pleased with this settlement, which brings to closure our last known major financial exposure relating to antitrust claims involving the Puerto Rico trade lane,” said Horizon Lines Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Michael T. Avara in a prepared statement. “It also eliminates the potential for protracted and costly litigation.”


ALEXANDER & BALDWIN WILL SEPARATE INTO TWO COMPANIES

Alexander & Baldwin, parent-company of MM&P-contracted Matson Navigation, says it will split into two independent, publicly traded companies: Alexander & Baldwin Inc., focused on real estate and agriculture; and Matson, focused on transportation and logistics. The company said that because its land and transportation businesses already perform nearly all their day-to-day functions independently, there will be very little change to each entity’s organizational structure, no net job loss and no interruption in operations or service. “Communities, customers, vendors, government officials and the general public will not experience any changes in the way we do business or the people they do business with,” a company spokesman said.

The plan was unanimously approved on Dec. 1 by Alexander & Baldwin’s board of directors. The separation is expected to be completed in the second half of next year, the company said in an official release to the press. At the end of the operation, shareholders will own one share of both A&B and Matson stock for each share of company stock owned.

“After thorough evaluation, we have concluded that the increased size, capabilities and financial strength of our land and transportation businesses now enable these operations to independently execute their strategies to maximize shareholder value,” said Alexander & Baldwin Chairman Walter A. Dods. “This separation will create two financially strong public companies, each with more than one billion dollars in assets, a thousand employees, strong balance sheets and cash flow to fund future growth.” Both companies will be incorporated and based in Hawaii.


MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND AWARDS MARITIME PREPOSITIONING SHIP CONTRACT TO KEYSTONE

Military Sealift Command (MSC) has awarded the contract for the operation of three of its government-owned maritime prepositioning ships (MPS) to Keystone. The decision comes after two years of uncertainty, during which MM&P-contracted Waterman sought to retain the contract for the three ships: USNS SGT. MATEJ KOCAK, USNS PFC. EUGENE A. OBREGON and USNS MAJ. STEPHEN W. PLESS.
 
The saga may not be over. Earlier this year, MM&P objected to the wage determination used by MSC in soliciting the proposal. The Department of Labor agreed with MM&P’s position and informed MSC that MM&P’s dominant prevailing wages should have been used. However, the award to Keystone was made on the basis of the incorrect wages originally used by MSC. To date, this issue remains unresolved. Additionally, at the time of this publication, it is MM&P’s understanding that Waterman intends to protest the decision to award the ships to Keystone.


NEW ISSUE OF THE MASTER, MATE & PILOT NOW ONLINE

The November-December issue of The Master, Mate & Pilot has been posted on www.bridgedeck.org. News stories covered in this issue include: Blue & Gold Fleet wins contract for Bay Area ferries; MM&P Pilots Group Vice President George Quick honored for seafarer advocacy work; awards to officers and crew of HORIZON PRODUCER, USNS BRIDGE and USNS SAFEGUARD; Coast Guard proposes sweeping changes to U.S. licensing regulations; maritime unions in Hawaii on the frontlines. Plus–a call to action from MM&P International President Tim Brown: please help us keep maritime off the chopping block by contributing to the MM&P Political Contribution Fund!


FEDERAL WORKERS ALLIANCE CHAIRMAN REBUTS RICK PERRY’S JAB AT GOVERNMENT WORKERS

The head of the Federal Workers Alliance (FWA) issued a stinging rebuttal last week to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who punctuated a recent campaign stop in New Hampshire with a gratuitous blast at the men and women who work for the U.S. government. “I don’t think you can fire federal bureaucrats, but you can reassign them,” Perry said in a speech on health care. “[And you should] reassign them to some really god-awful place.”

“Gov. Perry’s comments are irresponsible and insulting to the 2.1 million dedicated federal employees serving our country every day,” shot back FWA Chair William Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE).

“The ‘federal bureaucrats’ he so often refers to are not a bunch of overpaid, underworked paper-pushers in Washington like the governor would like people to believe,” Dougan said. “They are the nurses and doctors who care for our veterans, the Border Patrol agents that protect our nation from drug and human smuggling, and the firefighters who save thousands of homes and businesses each year fighting wildfires — including those that ravaged Texas just this year.”

“If Gov. Perry wants to know what ‘a god-awful place’ looks like, he should imagine Texas without thousands of dedicated federal employees defending its border, staffing its VA hospitals and extinguishing its wildfires,” Dougan added. MM&P is a member of FWA.


IN CALIFORNIA, DATA JUSTIFIES INCOME INEQUALITY CLAIMS OF OCCUPY GROUPS

Middle class families in California are falling farther and farther behind, according to an article published in the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 23. Based on an analysis of financial data collected by the state, the authors found that an increasing share of California’s income and wealth is being concentrated in the hands of its richest citizens.

“The most durable message from the Occupy Wall Street encampments across the nation is also the simplest: ‘We are the 99 percent.’ But are the implications of that message fair?” ask the authors of the report, budget analysts Alissa Anderson and Jean Ross.

Across America, and particularly in California, the two concluded that the claims of the “Occupy” groups are borne out by the facts. “We are living in an era of widening inequality, with income gains concentrated at the top, and most families in the state are falling behind.” Between 1987 and 2009, the two found that more than one-third of overall income gains went to the top 1 percent and almost three-quarters went to the top 10 percent. The bottom 90 percent received just over one-quarter of the growth in incomes. The article, entitled “California’s Wealth Pyramid,” reports that nearly 1 in 6 Californians now lives in poverty, the largest share in over a decade.


NEW HAMPSHIRE WORKERS CELEBRATE DEFEAT OF RIGHT-TO-WORK FOR LESS BILL

Workers and union leaders in New Hampshire are celebrating. Last week, the state House failed to override Democratic Gov. John Lynch’s veto of a so-called right to work bill. When the votes were cast, nearly 100 teachers, firefighters and postal workers were on hand to ask their legislators to support the veto. “We’re hoping that the victory today will send a positive message to the public, to the middle class, and to all of New Hampshire that collective bargaining really is what guarantees good wages and benefits for Americans,” said a spokeswoman for a New Hampshire-based Communications Workers of America Local. “We’ve had one victory, but we still have a lot of battles ahead of us.”


300,000 SIGN RECALL WALKER IN WISCONSIN PETITION DRIVE’S FIRST 12 DAYS

More than 300,000 Wisconsin voters have signed petitions to hold a recall election of Republican Gov. Scott Walker. The 60-day window to gather 540,000 signatures to qualify for an election ends Jan. 17. United Wisconsin, the coalition spearheading the recall movement, says volunteers have been collecting signatures: “on street corners and near shopping malls, they’ve knocked on their neighbors’ doors and set up drive-through recall stations alongside busy roads. They have worked hard through the wind and the rain, the snow and the cold.”

Walker has been struggling politically since he rammed through legislation that eliminated collective bargaining rights for public employees and made huge budget cuts to education, health care and other vital services. At the same time, his administration has cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations, and introduced new restrictions on voting. Although Walker has called his agenda “a jobs creation program,” critics point out that in October, Wisconsin led the nation in the number of jobs lost and has seen its unemployment rate jump from 7.3 percent in May to 7.7 percent in October. You can find out more about the recall effort at United Wisconsin’s website: www.unitedwisconsin.com.


SOMALI PIRATES RELEASE ITALIAN CARGO SHIP AND 21 CREWMEMBERS

The Italian cargo ship MV ROSALIA D’AMATO and its 21-person crew were released from Somali pirate control on Nov. 28, reportedly in exchange for a $6 million ransom payment. The ship was hijacked in April off the coast of Oman while travelling to Iran from Brazil. The members of the crew were said by NATO authorities to be in good health.


GREECE WILL ALLOW ARMED GUARDS ABOARD SHIPS

Legislation now being drafted in Greece will allow up to six armed guards each on ships sailing through pirate-infested waters. The measure, which has been pushed for years by Greek shippers, is opposed by the nation’s maritime unions. In the United Kingdom, a licensing program that will allow U.K.-flagged vessels to carry armed guards will also get underway soon. The program would restrict the use of weapons to areas off the Somali coast, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, and parts of the Indian Ocean.

The legislation proposed in Greece “does not tackle piracy or protect seafarers but raises the risk of accidents and puts seafarers under psychological pressure,” said a spokesperson for Greece’s seafarers’ union. “The content of the bill is unacceptable and leaves a ship’s master and crew exposed to danger,” the Greek officers’ union said in a separate statement. Both unions said they were not consulted by the government when it drafted the law. 


UPDATED MM&P HOLIDAY PARTY SCHEDULE

MM&P members, employees, their families and friends are encouraged to attend the holiday parties now being scheduled in our union halls.

On the East Coast:

— Boston, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 12:00 to 4:00 p.m., Boston Union Hall, 12 Channel St., Suite 606-A;

— New York/New Jersey, Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 1:00 p.m., at the New York/New Jersey Hall;

— Norfolk, Thursday, Dec. 15, at noon, Norfolk Commerce Centre III, 5425 Robin Hood Rd.,  Suite 204,  Norfolk (conveniently located off I-64/Military Hwy and Norfolk International Airport; HRT bus stops front of building);

— Puerto Rico, Friday, Dec. 16, at 3:30 p.m., El Camaron, Ponce de Leon Avenue, near old Puerto Rico Hall.

On the Gulf Coast:

— Houston, Thursday, Dec. 15, at noon, Brady’s Landing;

— Jacksonville, Friday, Dec. 9, at noon;

— Pompano, Friday, Dec. 16, at 10:00 a.m.;

— New Orleans, Wednesday, Dec. 14, at noon, Portobello Catering in Metairie.

On the West Coast:

— Honolulu, Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 11:00 a.m. in the Honolulu Hall, together with members of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA);

— Los Angeles, Friday, Dec. 16, at noon, in the Los Angeles Hall with members of the United Inland Group (UIG) and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA);

— Oakland, Friday, Dec. 9, 12:30 p.m., in the Oakland Hall with members of the UIG and the MEBA;

— Seattle, Tuesday, Dec. 13, after United Inland Group Meeting, in Seattle Hall;

— Seattle, Wednesday, Dec. 14, at noon, in the Seattle Hall.


CAST YOUR VOTE FOR BROTHERHOOD OUTDOORS IN THE SPORTSMAN CHOICE AWARDS

“Brotherhood Outdoors,” the TV series that features union members on hunting and fishing expeditions, is a finalist in the 2011 Sportsman Choice Awards, the only viewer-decided awards program in the outdoor TV industry. Brotherhood Outdoors is up in two categories: Best Fishing Show and Best Combination (hunting and fishing). You can vote through Dec. 11 by going to the Sportsman Channel’s Facebook page. By voting, you could win a trip for two to the Sportsman Choice Awards party in Las Vegas, which is held as part of the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) Show in January. You could also win a Zeiss Conquest riflescope. Brotherhood Outdoors is broadcast on the Sportsman Channel on Thursdays at 8 p.m., Wednesdays at 6 a.m. and Saturdays at 5 p.m. (EST).


NEW ZEALAND SALVAGE CREWS ADD SECOND CRANE TO RENA OPERATION

Authorities in New Zealand say that a second crane barge has been added to the team working to remove containers from the Liberia-flagged containership RENA, which remains grounded on the Astrolabe Reef. As of Monday morning, 167 containers had been removed from the stricken ship, and there were 1,114 still onboard. Salvage work was suspended on Monday because of bad weather in the Bay of Plenty. Salvors say the ship is still intact and they are working to improve its buoyancy. At the same time, clean-up crews are preparing for more oil to wash up on local beaches, because rough weather and strong swells caused more oil to be released from the ship over the weekend.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Try our on-line interactive calendar to register for class: http://mitags-pmi.org/courses/calendar/

For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Kelly Michielli, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or Email: admissions@mitags.org.

AB – Able Bodied Seaman: 1/9

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/24, 3/13

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 3/13

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 2/20

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  1/23, 3/1

BST – Basic Safety Training: 1/23

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 1/9, 3/19

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 3/5

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 1/16

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 1/30

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 1/23

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 1/23, 3/26

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 2/20

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/16, 1/30, 2/27, 3/12, 3/26

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 1/23, 2/6, 3/5, 3/19

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 2/13


CONSTAB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 1/9

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 3/15

DDE-GL – Designated Duty Engineer Great Lakes: 1/30

ECDIS-ENAV (2 DAY) for Pilots: 3/1

ENAV – Electronic Navigation: 3/19

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 3/13

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 1/23

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep and Medications for Pilots: 3/16

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress Safety Signal: 2/20

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 3/5

LAP – License Advancement Program for Chief Mate & Master: 3/19

LAP-GL – License Advancement Program for Great Lakes: 1/30

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 1/23, 3/1

MCL – Management, Communication & Leadership: 3/26

MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 1/9, 2/13, 3/19

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person In Charge Refresher: 3/5

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/9, 2/13, 3/19

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/14, 3/24

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 3/12

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 12/7, 12/14, 1/11, 1/25, 2/8, 2/22, 3/7, 3/21

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/23, 3/12

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 1/16

SEC-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 3/12

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 12/12, 2/13

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 1/11, 2/27

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 3/5

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial and Costal Navigation and Compasses: 1/30

TPIC-DL – Tankerman Person In Charge Dangerous Liquids: 3/5

WKP BAS – Basic Watchkeeping: 3/5

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 3/26

…Remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call. Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions.
 


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at www.mates.org
 
For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126
 
December 2011

12-16   Radar Observer Unlimited
19-22  ARPA


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 12-2-11

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
12,019.42 2,626.93 1,244.28
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
53.82
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
115.04
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
39.70
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
17.21
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
17.90
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
25.62
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
11.16
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
32.07
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.61
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
16.32
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
21.38
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.24
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
19.39
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
12.29
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
12.59
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
12.54
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
12.78
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
13.15
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.99
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
31.15
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
17.51
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
15.11
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
17.98
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.83
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
63.34
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
63.09
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
16.97
Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
43.41
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
26.17
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
26.03
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.36
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.13
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.50
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
13.56
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
13.30
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
7.63
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
8.85
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
10.91
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
36.21
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
44.21
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
29.97



The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2011, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.