News

Wheelhouse Weekly – December 29, 2006

December 29th 2006

 

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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 52. . . . December 29, 2006

STORIES COVERED

Also

REMINDERS

T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services




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





 

A TRIBUTE TO PRESIDENT GERALD FORD – A TRUE HERO TO THE AMERICAN MERCHANT MARINE

MM&P mourns the passing two days ago of Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the United States. We remember with great appreciation his efforts in response to the seizure of the US-flag container vessel SS MAYAGUEZ and the rescue of the ship’s civilian crew, including five MM&P Licensed Deck Officers. On May 12, 1975, the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia ordered the Sealand Service vessel MAYAGUEZ seized, claiming the vessel was being used to transport military equipment to Vietnam. The vessel’s commercial crew of 40 was taken captive and held prisoner. In response, President Ford moved quickly and decisively. He ordered one United States Marine assault force to seize and hold the island where it was believed the crew was being held captive, and another to board the vessel. The battle to rescue the crew, who were actually held on a fishing vessel, left 41 US military personnel dead or missing, and another 50 wounded. Upon the crew’s return to the United States, MM&P-member and MAYAGUEZ Captain Charles Miller presented President Ford with the ship’s wheel as a token of appreciation for his decision to order the rescue.

Born in 1913, Gerald Ford graduated from the University of Michigan and received a law degree from Yale. He left his legal practice in 1942 to join the Naval Reserve and served aboard the light aircraft carrier USS MONTEREY. On November 2, 1948 he was elected to his first of 12 terms to the House of Representatives representing Grand Rapids, MI, and holds the distinction of serving the longest amount of time in the House of any President in US history. He became Minority Leader in the House in 1965 and was appointed to replace Spiro Agnew as Vice President under Richard Nixon in 1973. On August 9, 1974 he was sworn in to replace President Richard Nixon who resigned as a result of the Watergate scandal. He lost his bid for election to Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Upon learning of the passing of President Ford, MM&P President Tim Brown expressed our Union’s condolences to his widow, Betty Ford, and told her and President Ford’s family that we will never forget his willingness to stand up and fight for our merchant mariners and for the deliberate and forceful way he orchestrated their safe return to the United States. His leadership and friendship will be sorely missed.




 

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM MM&P PRESIDENT TIM BROWN ON THE MERCHANT OFFICERS LABOR ALLIANCE BETWEEN MM&P AND MEBA

Due to its significance, the following message from MM&P President Tim Brown is being repeated. It originally appeared in last week’s Wheelhouse Weekly.

“On the 14th of December, MEBA President Davis and I signed The Merchant Officers’ Labor Alliance between MEBA and the MM&P. This document spells out a number of goals that MEBA and MM&P would like to pursue together in the spirit of fostering and strengthening the fraternal relationship between MEBA and MM&P. It sets out a governing Structure and a method of ratifying actions of a joint board of MEBA and MM&P officials.

President Davis and I have agreed that we will both send this document out for a ratification vote of our respective memberships through a mail ballot of 90 days to allow debate on the document. It is anticipated that this ballot could be in the mail by the middle of February. We intend to circulate the document itself in the union halls by the first of the New Year.”



UPDATE ON “PROPOSED” NMC LICENSING POLICIES

Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects, has scheduled a meeting on January 3rd with officials at the USCG’s National Maritime Center where he hopes to obtain clarification on the NMC’s proposed licensing policies. Although the final licensing exam policy has not been approved by the USCG Commandant, Plant reports that it is anticipated that the proposed policy will consist of the following:

  • Effective February 1, 2007 the combined license exams for 3rd/2nd Mate/Engineer, CM/MA or 1st AE/CE, will have to be taken. The raise-in-grade (RIG) to 2nd or MA/CE will no longer be given, if you have not started sitting for the exams prior to January 31, 2007.
  • However, we are now told that those who sat for their original 3rd license (deck or engine) prior to February 2002 (when STCW-95 went into effect) will not have to sit for a license exam to obtain their 2nd Mate/Engineer license, BUT will have to meet the competency requirements as specified by STCW-95 and spelled out in NMC policy 01-02. This is a tremendous amount of work and will take quite a bit of time to accomplish. The NMC Web site for the year 2002 policy info is: http://www.uscg.mil/stcw/mmic-policy.htm#02
  • Those Chief Mates and 1st Asst. Engineers who sat for their license prior to February 2002 will not have to sit for a license exam to obtain their Master/Chief Engineer license, BUT will have to take the required “management level training” (12 weeks for Deck – NMC policy 04-02 – and 6 weeks for Engineers – being finalized). Again, this will probably take one to two years to schedule and complete the required courses. The NMC Web site for this policy is: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/marpers/pag/04-02.pdf
  • Also, MM&P was recently informed to expect a change in the near future regarding the policy that covers failure of exam modules. Once a mariner fails 3 modules he/she will no longer be able to continue taking the remaining exam modules and will have to start the examination process over.


    ANOTHER IMPORTANT MM&P ISSUE: TWIC SUMMARY AND UPDATE

    Earlier this year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the USCG issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) entitled Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) Implementation in the Maritime Sector; Proposed Rules. The USCG held several public meetings on the TWIC and the public comment period closed on July 6th. MM&P provided comments and participated in the public meetings. Since the comment period closed, there have been several developments.

    Congress passed and the President signed into law on October 13th the “Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006 (SAFE Port Act). The new law does several things but with respect to TWIC and Merchant Mariner Documents (MMD) it:

  • Provides that TSA and CG process applications for MMD’s and TWIC’s concurrently;
  • Restricts application fees to those costs associated with issuance, production and management of the TWIC and not the cost of background checks;
  • Establishes a schedule for implementation of a TWIC program in the ports based upon risk. A TWIC program must be in place at the top 10 ports at risk of terrorism by July 1, 2007. The next 40 ports must have a program running by January 1, 2008. All other US ports must be on line by January 1, 2009.
  • Sets a deadline of January 1, 2009 for processing, issuing or denying each application for a TWIC for mariners who hold a valid MMD as of October 13, 2006, the date of enactment.
  • Requires a pilot program at five distinct geographic locations. The pilot program must begin no later than April 11, 2007.
  • Requires the CG to issue final regulations before January 1, 2007.

    The entire transportation industry, including transportation labor, is engaged in responding to the NPRM and the SAFE Port Act. The National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC) convened a working group to provide specifications for TWIC cards and the readers that will be installed aboard ships and at port facilities. MM&P representatives from Headquarters have been active participants at NMSAC meetings to present the views of our organization and the concerns of our members.

    A coalition of ocean carriers, offshore operators, seafaring labor and others has formed to present concerns over the NPRM and its potential negative effects upon operations and the professional lives of mariners. MM&P and MIRAID are also active members of this group. MM&P has clearly stated in all available forums that the TWIC program must:

  • Conform to international standards for Seafarers Identity Documents as established in International Labor Organization Convention-185. This ensures that the identity documents that mariners must carry overseas will be accepted in foreign ports;
  • Preempt any state program that may already be in place. This would ensure that mariners will not have to carry separate identity cards for each of the many ports at which they call within the US. The mess in Florida is well known to many;
  • Draw a distinction between terrorism and crime. The Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002 (MTSA) which mandated the TWIC, provides that a TWIC should only be denied if the applicant poses a risk of terrorism. The NPRM goes beyond the original intent of Congress in the MTSA by linking issuance of a TWIC to a past history of crimes that are clearly not related to terrorism.
  • MM&P also supports an identity document that would combine the existing MMD and the TWIC. This would enable mariners to apply once for a TWIC and MMD with one background check for both and carry one identity document that would be acceptable worldwide. Related to this is MM&P’s opposition to the USCG’s proposal, in another rulemaking, to consolidate all MMDs, licenses and endorsements into one “credential”.
  • MM&P and MIRAID will continue to monitor developments associated with the TWIC program and to report them in the Wheelhouse Weekly. For more info on these topics contact MM&P’s Executive Assistant to the President, Mike Rodriguez at 410-850-8700 x23 or by email at mrodriguez@bridgedeck.org.


    HORIZON LINES ELECTS FORMER SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION MINETA TO BOARD

    MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines announced earlier this week that its Board of Directors has voted to elect former US Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta to the Board effective January 1, 2007. Mr. Mineta fills a vacancy created by the resignation from the Horizon Lines Board of Admiral James Holloway (USN-Retired), which is effective December 31, 2006. “Admiral Holloway has been an active contributor to our business planning and our fleet plans at Horizon Lines. We have been extremely fortunate to have had his insight and sage counsel since he joined the company’s Board in July, 2004,” said Charles G. (Chuck) Raymond, Chairman and CEO of Horizon Lines.

    Mr. Mineta, 75, is currently Vice Chairman of Hill & Knowlton, one of the world’s premier communications consultancies. His distinguished career includes 20 years in the US House of Representatives representing the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. He has also served as the chair of the National Civil Aviation Review Commission as well as serving in cabinet positions under the last two US presidents. Mr. Mineta joined the administration of President George W. Bush in January 2001 and was the longest serving Secretary of Transportation in the history of that cabinet post. He also served as US Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton. Prior to joining the Clinton Administration, he was vice president of Lockheed Martin.

    Mr. Raymond has worked closely with former Secretary Mineta, particularly from May 2001 through May 2004 during which period Mr. Raymond served as the inaugural Chair of the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council. “Norm Mineta has a wealth of knowledge of our nation’s commercial opportunities as well as the strengths and opportunities in our national transportation system,” Mr. Raymond said. “He will be an invaluable source of energy and guidance as we look to the future.”

    “I am pleased to be able to work with Chuck Raymond, my fellow Horizon Lines board members and management to help the company address the future,” Mr. Mineta said. “As Secretary of Transportation I was keenly aware of the progress Horizon Lines has made since its separation from
    CSX Corporation in 2003. In my view Horizon Lines is the best in its class and is capable of filling a number of the needs of our national transportation system.”


    HORIZON LINES’ RAYMOND HONORED AT USMMA-AF ANNUAL MARITIME DINNER-DANCE HELD AT MITAGS

    Charles “Chuck” G. Raymond (Kings Point Class ’65), Chairman and CEO of Horizon Lines, was the Guest of Honor and keynote speaker at the US Merchant Marine Academy Chesapeake Chapter Alumni Foundation Annual Maritime Dinner-Dance, which was recently held at MITAGS.

    The event helped commemorate the US Merchant Marine Sealift. The evening was also dedicated in the memory of Rear Admiral Carl J. Seiberlich, USN (RET), Kings Point Class ’43, and Captain Charles “Chuck” Pillsbury, Kings Point Class ’68; two distinguished USMMA graduates, prominent mariners, and members of the USMMA-AF Chesapeake Chapter who made their final voyage in 2006.

    Notable guests in attendance at the event included the Honorable Helen Delich Bentley, a former member of the US House of Representatives who has been a great friend to the US-flag maritime industry. She was recently honored when the State of Maryland renamed the Port of Baltimore to the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore. Chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission, Steven Blust (KP Class ’71), Julie Nelson, Deputy Maritime Administrator and Chief Council, Captain Eric Nielsen (KP Class ’81), President of the Maryland Pilots Association, and Reverend Monsignor John FitzGerald, PH.D., Captain, Chaplain Corps, US Navy (RET), Apostleship of the Sea, Archdiocese of Baltimore were also in attendance.

    The event also included an awards ceremony for graduates that have honored the US Merchant Marine Academy with their leadership contributions to the maritime industry. Gary Hicks (KP Class ’76) President of the USMMA-AF Chesapeake Chapter presented the awards to Charles “Chuck” Raymond (KP Class ’66), Chairman and CEO of Horizon Lines; Tim Brown (KP Class ’65), President of the International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots; Glen M. Paine (KP Class ’78), Executive Director of MITAGS and PMI; Roy Rogers (KP Class ’71), President of the Kings Point Club of Washington DC; and Thomas Lamm (KP Class ’79) Treasurer of the USMMA-AF Chesapeake Chapter.


    USCG SETS MINIMUM RANDOM DRUG TESTING RATE AT 50 PERCENT

    The Coast Guard has set the calendar year 2007 minimum random drug-testing rate at 50 percent of covered crewmembers. The minimum random drug-testing rate is effective January 1, 2007 through December 31, 2007. Marine employers must submit their 2006 Management Information System (MIS) reports no later than March 15, 2007. Annual MIS reports may be submitted by electronic submission to the following Internet address: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/moa/dapip.htm. For questions about this notice, contact Robert Schoening, Drug and Alcohol Program Manager, Office of Investigations and Analysis, USCG HQ, phone: 202-372-1033.


    54TH SHIP LEAVES JAMES RIVER RESERVE FLEET FOR RECYCLING

    The VULCAN, a former Navy repair ship built in 1941, left the James River Reserve Fleet last week to be dismantled at Bay Bridge Enterprises of Chesapeake, VA, under a contract worth $494,000. The VULCAN has a small niche in Naval history. Until 1978, the only Navy ships to carry women on duty were hospital ships. That year, the VULCAN became the first non-hospital Navy ship to carry women on active duty. The VULCAN was the 54th ship to leave the James River site for recycling since January 1, 2001.


    MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

    CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of March 2007, seats are available in the following courses:


    AIS – Automatic Identification System: 3/23
    ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 1/16, 2/6, 3/6

    BRM Bridge Resource Management: 1/22, 2/19, 3/26
    BST – Basic Safety Training: 2/5, 3/12

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
    CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 1/22
    CMM-ADVSTB – 1/29
    CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 2/12
    CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 2/5
    CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 3/19
    CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 2/19
    CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management II (week 1): 2/26
    CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management II (week 2): 3/5
    Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/8, 2/5, 3/12
    Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/19
    Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 1/15, 2/12
    CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 3/26
    CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 3/12

    CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 1/26

    CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 1/15

    FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 2/5, 3/12

    HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 1/8, 2/12

    MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 1/25, 3/22

    MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/13, 2/17, 3/3
    MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 1/8, 2/12, 2/26
    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/8, 2/12, 2/26

    [MSC – Military Sealift Command]
    MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 1/20, 3/30
    MSC-DC (Damage Control): 1/18, 3/22
    MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training: 3/26
    MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 3/30 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

    ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 1/29, 3/26
    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/15, 2/5, 3/5

    SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 1/22, 3/19
    SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 1/22, 2/19, 3/26
    SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 2/26
    SHS-EMR- BRMP-3- Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/19
    TPIC-DL – Tanker Person-In-Charge, Dangerous Liquids: 2/12


    Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or Email: admissions@mitags.org.


    PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

    Fall and Winter: 2006-2007

    MATE 500/1600 TONS Program Begins January 2007
    Due to the high demand for this program, PMI has now scheduled another that is already close to full enrollment for its 2007-start date. See the PMI Web site at www.mates.org for more info on this new development.

    SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at www.mates.org)

    December 2007
    12/18-22 ECDIS
    12/18-22 ARPA
    12/18-22 Medical First Aid Provider
    12/19 Radar Recertification

    January 2007
    1/2 Mate Program Begins/Orientation
    1/8-1/26 Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
    1/22-1/26 Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
    1/22-1/26 Tankerman Person in Charge
    1/22-1/26 Emergency Shiphandling
    1/29-2/2 Medical First Aid Provider
    1/29-2/2 Radar Observer Unlimited
    1/29-2/9 Medical Person in Charge
    1/29-2/9 GMDSS

    For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

    PMI MERCHANDISE FOR SALE!!!

    High quality with embroidered PMI logo.
    Navy or Khaki Hats : $16 / includes tax
    ———————————-
    Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
    Blue or Khaki: $38 / includes tax
    ———————————-
    Pocket t-shirts with Logo: $12 / includes tax
    ————————————
    15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug: $8 / includes tax

    Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail dlazik@mates.org.


    MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 12-28

     

     D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
    12,501.52 +80.27 for the week 2,425.57 +9.72 for the week 1,420.70 +8.06 for the week
    Fund Name & Trading Symbol
    Closing
    Price
     Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
    131.18
     Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
    38.93
     Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
    23.89
     Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
    19.08
     Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
    34.93
     Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
    10.21
     Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
    6.22
     Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
    9.99
     Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
    19.09
     Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
    16.15
     Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
    31.27
     Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
    89.92
     Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
    21.28
     Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
    81.02
     Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
    50.41
     Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
    33.59

    .






    ~ Reminders ~





     

    T-AGS OCEANOGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIPS MANNING REQUIREMENTS

    REQUIRED COURSEWORK

    All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

    The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

    Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

    • Advanced Fire Fighting
    • Basic Safety Training, and
    • Damage Control

    Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

    Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email: admissions@mitags.org, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

    Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

    Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commenced Oct.17, 2004. Positions for all ratings remain open.

    The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at: rplant@bridgedeck.org, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

    Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

    IOMM&P
    700 Maritime Blvd.
    Linthicum Heights, MD 21090



    SHIP SECURITY CLEARANCE NEEDED

    Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

    Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

    Go to https://sclient.dss.mil/download/w9xfull.htm to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

    After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

    All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

    From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

    • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
    • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

    After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.

    .



    MSC PHYSICALS

    Horizon Lines requests all mariners seeking employment aboard the T-AGS Oceanographic vessels to take their MSC Physical at specially-designated facilities only after being advised to do so by the Company. This is to assure that all requirements of the MSC Physical are properly met.

    .


    MM&P FCU NEWS

    GET NEW WHEELS OR LOWER EXISTING PAYMENTS WITH MM&P FCU VEHICLE FINANCING

    Is it time to replace that car you’re driving? Vehicle loan rates are looking great at MM&P FCU.

    Drive away in a new or used vehicle for a standard loan rate of:

    4.75 percent for terms up to 24 months.
    Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are:

    5.00 percent for 25-48 months;
    5.75 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
    6.25 percent for terms extending from 61-72 months ($25,000 minimum).
    You can lower your loan rate even more — by 0.75 percent — by becoming a Preferred Borrower.

    Are you paying a higher rate on your current vehicle loan at another institution? Consider refinancing your outside loan at the MM&P FCU and taking advantage of our lower loan rates.

    MM&P FCU will finance up to 100 percent of your new vehicle loan, and up to 90 percent of NADA Book Value on a used vehicle. Maximum vehicle loan amount is $30,000.

    PREFERRED BORROWERS GET LOWER LOAN RATES
    MM&P FCU members can reduce the interest rate they pay on any new loan even further by becoming a preferred borrower. What is a preferred borrower? That’s a member who deposits at least 10 percent of the original loan amount into their MM&P FCU savings account and keeps those funds on deposit until the loan is paid in full. By doing this you save twice – first, your deposit works for you by earning our regular dividend savings rate, and second, you save money by reducing the interest rate on your loan by 0.75 percent.

    Contact the MM&P FCU for full details on all loan programs by email to mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.

    .



     

    MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN NEWS

    NOTICE TO MEMBERS WHO ARE TAKING VIOXX

    On Sept.30, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew Vioxx, a popular anti-inflammatory medication, from the market. As a result, individuals who are currently taking the drug have been asked to contact their health care professionals to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and possible alternative treatments.

    MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “We have gotten a number of calls from members who want to know what to do with their remaining supply of Vioxx and whether the Plan or NMHC will refund their co-pay for the unused portion.

    “Unfortunately, neither NMHC nor the Plan was aware of the Merck decision prior to the public announcement on Sept.30. As of that date, all deliveries of Vioxx to our members was suspended in accordance with Merck’s announcement. Orders that had already been processed and were in transit could not be stopped.

    “In regard to refunds, Merck has set up a website at www.vioxx.com where members can obtain information on how to recover refunds from Merck for the unused portion of medication. Members can also call following toll free number for information: 1-888-368-4699.

    “We are sorry for any inc onvenience this may have caused to members currently taking this medication, however, the matter is out of the control of the Plans.”



    NMHC MAIL-ORDER PRESCRIPTIONS WEBSITE UPDATED & IMPROVED

    MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports, “Good news! NMHC mail has finally gotten their website upgraded and functioning properly. I went in and tested it myself and found it to be quite user friendly.”

    To use NMHC’s upgraded service, go to the NMHC Mail website at www.nmhcmail.com and click on “MEMBER LOGIN” at the bottom of the screen.

    First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at https://members.nmhcrx.com/Login/Login.aspx.

    • First-time users should then click on the link marked “NEW USER: REGISTER HERE”.
      This will take you to a page titled “MEMBER REGISTRATION” where you will need to enter demographic information and submit it by clicking on the
    • “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.

    After creating your account, NMHC will email you a password to gain entry into your records. With your first sign-in, the NMHC system will prompt you to change the NMHC password to one of your own choosing.

    Once you are registered at NMHC, you can check the status of open orders by logging-in to the system through the “MEMBER LOGIN” page and going into the “MAIL ORDER” menu. You can look up all prescriptions and get the price our members will pay for any medication. You can also view an order history of all of your medication transactions (both retail and mail) for the last 24 months, locate 24-hour pharmacies in your zip code region as well as access other helpful member education information.

    “We hope this welcome improvement will assist our members. Although you cannot order refills on line if you don’t provide a credit or debit card number, you can phone in your refill. Once you register on the website, you will still have access to all of the other information including checking the status of your order once it is phoned in,” said Ms. Verrecchio.



    WWII USCG VETERANS OUTREACH

    The U.S. Coast Guard has announced an initiative to identify and collect the oral histories of its World War II veterans. Coast Guard WWII veterans, including SPARS and merchant mariners, are encouraged to record their histories online with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project at www.loc.gov/folklife/vets.

    Those veterans needing assistance in recording their stories can receive help from their local Coast Guard Auxiliary public affairs contact by leaving a message at 1-877-875-6296, a toll-free call.




     

    COMPANY GIVES BUCKS BACK FOR BUYING SAFE SHOES

    LMS Ship Management, the company that manages vessels for Central Gulf, Sulphur Carriers and Waterman Steamship, wants to remind MM&P members that they offer their crewmembers a $75 reimbursement on the cost of purchasing certain slip-resistant shoes and boots for use aboard ship.

    This offer has been in place for some time and LMS reports that “we have been pleased with the participation to date, but feel a reminder may be in order.” Their goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during working hours aboard their vessels.

    The $75 reimbursement is available to each crewmember who provides LMS with an original receipt for the purchase of slip resistant footwear. In order for the crewmember to obtain the reimbursement, they must wear the shoes while on duty. Upon presentation of the receipt, the crewmember will be reimbursed on their pay voucher. The receipt will be retained by the Master and will remain aboard the vessel.
     
     

    Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

    • Green Cove
    • Green Dale
    • Green Lake
    • Green Point
    • Atlantic Forest
    • Sulphur Enterprise
    • Energy Enterprise
    • SGT Matej C. Kocak
    • MAJ Stephen W. Pless, and
    • PFC Eugene A. Obregon

    LMS notes that in order to receive reimbursement, crewmembers must purchase one of the following recommended brands:

    • WORX by Red Wing Slip Resistant Footwear
    • Caterpillar (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)
    • Wolverine (must have steel toe and slip resistant sole)
    • Dunham Sierra Work Boot EH
    • Steel Toe Voyager
    • Georgia Boot 6- or 8-inch Safety Toe Boot
    • Dr. Marten’s (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)

    LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL:

    Of the boots listed above, Red Wing, Caterpillar and Wolverine boots are produced by US union labor.

    Redwing’s Union-made products are: Red Wing shoes and boots, Red Wing motorcycle boots and Craftsman (Sears).

    Wolverine World Wide manufactures boots under the Caterpillar brand using US union labor. (Other union made safety-shoe brands by Wolverine are the company’s Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels. The company’s Wolverine brand combat boots are also produced using US union labor.)

    Most Dr. Marten’s shoes and boots are produced in the UK.

    To find US, union-made products, visit the AFL-CIO Union Label Service and Trades website at www.unionlabel.org and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to www.ShopUnionMade.org.




     

    WEBSITE OFFERS UNION-MADE GOODS AND SERVICES

    The Union Label recently went digital with a new website offering shoppers an array of union-made gifts, from clothing and chocolates to computers, games and greeting cards.

    The website, www.shopunionmade.org, launches on the eve of the fall and winter holidays, when shoppers will spend an estimated $1 trillion on gifts, food, drinks and other seasonal items, explained Matt Bates, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department. The all-union shopping site, however, will be a year-round operation because that is what consumers demand, he added.

    “Shoppers spent $56 billion in Internet sales last year, and on-line spending is doubling every two to three years. Everyday we receive Email and calls from people who want to support good jobs by buying union-made goods and services. The website will reach millions of people, 24 hours a day, with a quick convenient way to shop union,” Bates said.

    “The public is ready for this. People have seen millions of good jobs disappear and they are looking for ways to take a stand and make a difference,” he added.

    The AFL-CIO will target the peak of the holiday shopping season by promoting “Buy Union Week” Nov. 26 through Dec. 5. The newly-launched, all-union shopping site will be a cornerstone of that campaign. MM&P has a link to the Shop Union Site on this website under “Links and Other Sources”.



    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., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

    C 2006, 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 John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org.

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