News

Wheelhouse Weekly – February 18, 2008

February 18th 2008

 

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

Volume 12 . . . . . Number 7. . . .February 18, 2008

STORIES COVERED

Also

REMINDERS

T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P FCU News

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Meet Our New Prescription Benefit Manager, PHARMACARE

Notice to MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Participants

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.


MM&P CLOSED FOR PRESIDENTS’ DAY

MM&P headquarters, MM&P Plans, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and all port offices will be closed Monday, Feb. 18, for Presidents’ Day.


MM&P GREAT LAKES & RIVERS GROUP WILL MAN TWO NEW VESSELS FOR GRAND RIVER NAVIGATION

Members of the MM&P United Inland Group sailing on the Great Lakes will man two new ships for long-time MM&P-contracted employer Grand River Navigation. The ships were purchased last week from Wisconsin and Michigan Steamship. “When you put the relief work into the equation, we’re looking at 60 new jobs for our members,” said MM&P Great Lakes representative Charles Malue. “It’s great that such a significant new opportunity has arisen for our members in the context of our association with this long-time MM&P employer,” he added. Malue says that the new vessels are expected to start service this spring.


CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON NEW AHL TANKERS

MM&P-contracted AHL Shipping Company announced that construction has begun on the first vessel in a series of three, 49,000 deadweight ton (DWT) Jones Act chemical/product tankers. All AHL vessels are manned top-to-bottom by MM&P.

Construction began with a steel-cutting ceremony at R&R Shipbuilding Inc. in Port Arthur, Texas. The project and financing for the project were finalized in July 2007.
R&R is one of the primary shipyards involved in the construction of modules for the AHL vessels. R&R will begin construction of the engine room power module for the first vessel on Feb. 25. Atlantic Marine Alabama was set to begin construction of its hull modules on Feb. 18, as this issue of The Wheelhouse Weekly was being distributed.

 “This is an exciting time for AHL, our shipbuilding partners and the domestic tanker industry,” said AHL President Richard Horner in an official release to the press. “We are pleased that the project is running on schedule and are grateful to our partners for their dedication to it.”  The vessels will be the first Jones Act tankers to be constructed under the common structural rules adopted by the International Association of Classification Societies, which came into effect in April 2006. They also will be the first vessels of this size to be built in the United States using the modular construction concept. The vessels will go on long-term time charter to Shell Trading in 2009-10. The project supports Shell’s controlled tonnage strategy as the phase out of single-hull vessels approaches under OPA90, said Bob Salmon, general manager of Shell Shipping. He also said the capability of these shallow-draft vessels to operate while fully laden will offer greater flexibility for port delivery across the United States than other vessels of the same size, while meeting strict environmental requirements. According to Salmon, Shell plans to use the vessels, which will have a cargo capacity of 330,000 barrels, to transport crude oil, chemicals and products within its domestic U.S. trade lanes.

AHL currently operates a fleet of four U.S.-built Jones Act OPA90-compliant tankers serving crude and chemical customers throughout the coastal United States. All current AHL ships were transformed into double hull vessels between 1995 and 1997, making AHL’s ships the first OPA90- compliant refined product vessels in the industry.


USCG COMMANDANT ADM. THAD ALLEN CHARTS COURSE FOR CHANGE

The Coast Guard is evolving on numerous fronts to meet a range of new challenges. The changes underway were detailed at length by USCG Commandant Adm. Thad Allen in a speech last week at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., entitled “Honoring Our Past — Not Operating In It: Modernizing America’s Coast Guard to Meet Growing Demands.”  Allen said he chose the occasion to present a broad overview of the Coast Guard’s strategy because last week marked the mid-point of his tenure.

Among the “spectrum of hazards and threats” now facing the Coast Guard, Allen said are: illegal immigration; drug trafficking; more radical weather patterns; changes to the Arctic ice cap; long-term conflict with radical extremists; and the challenges of securing cyber space. Allen cited as an additional challenge the rapid growth of the maritime transportation system, and shifts in markets and technology, such as increased transportation of liquefied natural gas, the increase in vessel size and the number of passengers sailing on cruise ships.

Allen said the Coast Guard’s situation is made more difficult by the fact that it is now operating the oldest fleet of cutters and aircraft in its history. “As many of you already know, we have one of the oldest maritime fleets in the world,” he said. “The average age of our major cutters is more than 35 years old… and we face similar challenges with sustaining our aging shore infrastructure, our inland buoy tender fleet, and our two polar icebreakers, all of which are old and getting older.”

Allen spoke at some length of the need to update internal business and back room processes, including financial management, logistics and human resource systems. He said that 20 months into his tenure, the agency has made great progress, although more needs to be done.

He said that the $9.3 billion budget signed by President Bush will sustain the Coast Guard’s vital missions related to marine safety, maritime security and environmental stewardship, while supporting plans for continuing a steady-state recapitalization of its hardware, cutters, aircraft, boats and shore infrastructure.

In the speech, Allen cited specifics regarding the overhaul of the USCG’s acquisitions directorate, which he said has made it possible to introduce more capable ships and aircraft into the fleet. In addition, Allen said, the agency is working hard to upgrade its “legacy fleet” of ships and aircraft to make them more effective until they can be replaced.

He said that in 2008, the Coast Guard will invest an additional $73 million in its national maritime distress system to install towers and equipment in four additional regions around the country. He said the agency will also begin replacing its 41-foot utility boats with a modern, more capable multi-mission response boat. 

As part of the strategic realignment, Allen said, the Coast Guard has also reviewed its stakeholder relationships with the maritime community, including professional mariners. He cited as part of this effort the fact that the fiscal year 2009 budget requests an additional 276 new marine inspector positions “to improve customer service and restore balance in our marine safety program.”

Allen described a series of organizational changes now being charted: merger of the Pacific and Atlantic Area Commands into a single Coast Guard Operations Command; establishment of a Force Readiness Command to better support the fleet while ensuring standardization and doctrine development; and reorganization of headquarters by creating two Deputy Commandant positions, one focused on operations and one focused on mission support.


MM&P MEMBERS SHARE TWIC TALES

The Sept. 25 deadline for mariners to carry the Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC) is fast approaching. MM&P members who haven’t already applied for the card are urged to do so now to avoid the crush of applications as the deadline nears and to build in more time in the process in case of holdups.

Although some members tell us they have been able to easily obtain the TWIC, others report that the process has been marked by unexpected problems and delays. MM&P is continuing to collect information on mariners’ experiences with TWIC so as to bring them to the attention of members of Congress and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Many MM&P members have encountered problems producing clear fingerprint impressions and have had to make repeated trips to enrollment centers as a result. It has taken some members up to six weeks to get their TWICs. Recently a member called to say that besides problems in the fingerprint phase, halfway into the process, TSA lost or misplaced any record of his name.
 
The member pre-enrolled on Nov. 19, and enrolled the following day. He was told somebody would call him when the card was ready for pick-up, probably by Dec 5. Christmas came and went without a card in sight. In January, he called the “hard-to-find phone number” of the Providence TWIC enrollment office and was told that “they could not find my name as enrolled. I was told a supervisor would call me back within five days. You probably know, I’m still waiting for that call.”

On Jan. 31, he called the center back. “At 08:55, I called. The person who answered asked me for my name and phone number. I provided my name and number and was told, without explanation, that I had been given ‘Ticket Number’ 35915 (Seems like a lot of tickets). I was transferred to customer service and waited, and waited, and waited. And waited some more. After choosing not to take five call-waiting calls, I hung up 38 minutes later.” The member still has not obtained his card.

Another member reported that he was experiencing problems with online enrollment. He tried to “Register for an ID” about a dozen times using both Mozilla Firefox browser and Microsoft Internet Explorer. He also tried using both small letters and large capital letters when inputting the code. He continued to get a message saying, “The code you previously entered did not match.”

 The next day, the member got through to the TSA TWIC Help Line. “They were actually helpful,” he said. The operator told him others were having the same problem and that the website was not working property. She then registered him and gave him a user name and password. His advice: If you have a problem registering on the website, call and register by phone. After that, go online, long in and update your information.”


COAST GUARD TO CONTINUE HF WEATHER BROADCASTS

The Coast Guard has decided to continue high frequency (HF) weather broadcasts. The agency had asked in April for public comment on the need to continue HF broadcasting high seas weather forecasts for single sideband voice, facsimile charts and text messages over radiotelex (e.g., HF NAVTEX). It said at the time that the infrastructure necessary to provide these services had exceeded its life expectancy and that significant costs were involved to continue the service. After reviewing substantial public response that overwhelmingly urged the continuation of the service, the Coast Guard concluded that it was necessary to continue HF weather broadcasts.

The business case study, “An Impact Assessment of Discontinuing USCG High-Frequency Radio Broadcasts of NWS Marine Weather Forecasts,” is posted at: http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/marcomms/high_frequency/HF-WX_notice.htm


AFTER YEARS OF WAITING, SIX PERCENT RATE INCREASE FOR LONG ISLAND SOUND PILOTS

Long Island Sound pilots have succeeded in winning a six percent rate increase for 2008, with comparable increases to come in 2009 and again in 2010. It is said to be the first increase in 25 years for the three pilot associations and several independent operators which offer pilotage service in the sound under a Memorandum of Agreement with the state commissioners of New York and Connecticut. The agreement was adopted by the Connecticut Legislature and the Department of Transportation in 2003 in an attempt to impose more structure on the competitive business situation in the sound. Pilots say it has taken an inordinate amount of time to obtain the rate increase because of the need for approval from two state bodies. With many of the pilots approaching retirement age, the rate hike is said to be seen by the states as necessary to attract new professionals to what may be the lowest paying pilot jobs in the country.


GREAT LAKES PILOTAGE RATE INCREASE PROPOSED

The Coast Guard has published a proposal to increase the rates for pilotage on the Great Lakes by an average of 8.17 percent for the 2008 shipping season. A final ruling is expected by mid-March.


NOW ONLINE: MM&P HOLIDAY PARTY PHOTOS IN THE JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2008 ISSUE OF THE MASTER, MATE & PILOT!

The most recent issue of The Master, Mate & Pilot has been posted on the MM&P website. Check it out now at www.bridgedeck.org. Highlights of this issue include:

  • 2007 MM&P holiday photos—celebrations in New York/New Jersey, Boston, Pompano, Linthicum, Seattle, Norfolk, Boston, Honolulu, Jacksonville and New Orleans;
  • MM&P and MIRAID continue work to ensure mariners’ rights are respected in the event of marine casualties;
  • Patriot wins contract to operate USNS HAYES and USNS WATERS;
  • short sea shipping initiatives move forward;
  • big win for MM&P in suit involving Westar and Brusco.
  • The January-February issue of the magazine also features an update on the campaign to promote 100 percent member participation in the MM&P Political Contribution Fund (PCF). The MM&P PCF supports candidates of all political parties who work in favor of America’s merchant mariners. Look for the new PCF poster in all MM&P port offices and a new PCF contribution button on the home page.


    SHELL TO RECRUIT U.S. SEAFARERS FOR INTERNATIONAL LNG FLEET

    Shell International Trading and Shipping Company has announced it will begin recruiting U.S. seafarers for its managed international liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels. “The addition of U.S. mariners will positively enhance Shell’s diverse seafarer skill pool and provide us with highly experienced personnel for our LNG fleets,” said a spokesman for Shell. “We’re excited to work with MARAD and the U.S. maritime unions to encourage the use of U.S. officers in the LNG industry,” he said.

    Maritime Administrator Sean Connaughton said the announcement “coincides perfectly” with the universal training standards agreement announced last summer by America’s maritime schools and MARAD. MM&P was a central player in development of the new standards.


    AFL-CIO SLAMS BUSH NOMINATIONS TO NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD

    Labor groups are protesting the two most recent Bush Administration nominations to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The AFL-CIO called the nominations of Robert Battista and Gerald Morales, “a blatant attempt to keep a Labor board with an unbalanced, anti-worker bias… poisonous to America’s working families.” Battista, who is being reappointed by Bush to a second five-year term, led the campaign to reclassify eight million workers as “supervisors” so as to deny them their right to join unions. The second nominee, Gerald Morales, is an attorney who has spent his professional career representing business interests. Under the Bush Administration, the AFL-CIO says, the NLRB has “abandoned its statutory mission to protect workers’ right to form unions and promote collective bargaining… and stripped workers of their rights, with breathtaking bias.”


    PRIDE OF HAWAII PULLED FROM HAWAII CRUISE ROUTE; PRIDE OF ALOHA TO GO AS WELL

    NCL America has reflagged the PRIDE OF HAWAII and sent it to Europe. The company also announced that effective May 11, it would reflag the PRIDE OF ALOHA. The company said its remaining Hawaii cruise ship, PRIDE OF AMERICA, will remain in the Islands through 2010. Passengers who were to travel on PRIDE OF ALOHA have until March 7 to cancel and get a full refund, the company said. Since 2004, NCL America has lost approximately $250 million on its Hawaiian operations. The 2,400-passenger PRIDE OF HAWAII has been reflagged as a Bahamian ship and renamed the NORWEGIAN JADE.


    REP. OBERSTAR RECEIVES WATERWAYS COUNCIL LEADERSHIP AWARD

    Congressman Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) has been chosen to receive the Seventh Annual Waterways Council Leadership Service Award. The council said Oberstar had been selected for his steadfast commitment to the improvement of the nation’s ports and commercial inland waterways system over his many years in Congress. Oberstar, a strong supporter of maritime labor and America’s working families, is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over all of America’s transportation modes, including surface transportation, aviation, and waterways.


    MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

    CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of March 2008, seats are available in the following courses:

    BRM � Bridge Resource Management: 3/24
    BRMP � Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/27

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
    CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display & Information Systems: 3/24
    CMM-SHS-ADV-I-Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/25
    CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 3/10

    CSE-AWR2 � Confined Space Entry Awareness (2 day): 3/20

    HAZMAT � Hazardous Materials Seminar (1 day) Course: 3/21

    LEG � Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/26

    MED-PIC � Medical Person-In-Charge: 3/10
    MED-PRO � Medical Care Provider: 3/10
    MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 2/26, 3/15
    MEDIA RSP � Media Response: 3/20

    ROP-5 � Radar Observer Program (Original or Renewal): 3/10

    SEC-VCF � Security Officer: Vessel, Company & Facility: 3/17
    SHS-BAS � Basic Shiphandling: 3/24
    SHS-ESH- BRMP � Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/24

    �and 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. 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

    Winter 2008

    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.

    FOR REGISTRATION CALL JENNIFER FOWLER: 206 838-1126

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

    February 2008
    25ROR
    25-29ARPA
    25-29ECDIS
    25-7CNAV

    March 2008
    3-7BST
    3-14GMDSS
    4-7LFBT
    10-11SAR
    10-12SEC VCF
    10-14AB
    12-14EP
    17-21TPIC
    17-28SHS ADV
    17-28GMDSS
    24-28ECDIS
    24-28FF ADV
    24-4GMDSS
    27-28FF BAS

    April 2008
    7          ROR
    7-11     STB BAS
    7-11     SHS EMR
    7-11     BST
    8-11     ARPA
    14-18  CHS BAS
    14-18  SHS ADV
    21-25  ROP
    22-25  AFF
    28-5/2 WX BAS
    28-5/2 SHS BAS
    28-5/16 TCNAV

    May 2008
    5-9       MED PRO
    5-9       SHS EMR
    8-9       BFF
    12-15   SHS BAS
    12-16   ECDIS
    12-16   BST
    12-16   ROP
    12-15   TPIC
    19-23   WKP BAS
    19-23   ROP
    26        ROR
    27         FL
    27-30  ARPA
    27-29  AFF
    27-31  WKP BAS/BRM
    28-30 CHS BAS

    June 2008
    2          FL
    2-20    TCNAV/CO
    2-6      ROP
    2-6      SHS ASSESS
    3-5      AFF
    9         ROR
    9-13    SHS ASSESS
    9-13    BST
    9-20    GMDSS
    10        FL
    10-13  ARPA
    16-20  MED PRO
    16-20  SHS BAS
    16-20  BST
    16-27  MED PIC
    23-25  SEC VCF
    23-27  ROP
    23-27  BAFF

    For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

    PMI MERCHANDISE FOR SALE!!!

    High-quality clothing embroidered with the NEW PMI logo! We can ship these items also! Acceptable forms of payment are check, credit card, money order and exact cash. Call Laura Bendixen at 888-893-7829 for prices and to order. If we don’t have your size, we’ll be glad to special order for you at no extra cost.


    MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 2-15-2008

    D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
    12,348 2,321 1,349.99
    Fund Name & Trading Symbol
     Closing
    Price
     Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
    62.12
     Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
    124.55
     Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
    36.98
     Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
    22.22
     Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
    17.63
     Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
    29.15
     Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
    10.39
     Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
    30.34
     Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
    5.70
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
    16.55
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
    23.27
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
    14.02
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
    20.07
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
    11.68
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
    12.42
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
    12.86
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
    13.56
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
    14.00
     Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
    10.19
     Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
    32.63
     Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
    18.94
     Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
    14.71
     Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
    25.08
     Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
    10.16
     Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
    84.16
     Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
    17.01
     Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
    69.62
     Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
    21.04
     Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
    39.43
     Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
    35.70
     Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
    27.23
     Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
    11.28
     Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
    12.15
     Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
    14.18
     Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
    14.83
     Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
    15.24
     Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
    8.93
     Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
    10.44
     Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
    10.29
     Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
    35.63
     Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
    47.84
     Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
    29.00






    ~ 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:

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

    6.75 percent for 25-48 months;
    7.50 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
    8.00 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

    MEET OUR NEW PRESCRIPTION BENEFIT MANAGER, PHARMACARE

    As you know, effective July 1, 2007, MM&P will have a new Prescription Benefit Manager, PharmaCare. If you use the mail service and have not sent your Confidential Mail Service Enrollment Form to the MM&P Plan Office, you have until June 30 to do so. Otherwise, you can call PharmaCare’s customer service line and give them the information over the telephone or send the form with your first new mail prescription directly to PharmaCare. In the next couple of days, you will be receiving a letter with your new MM&P identification cards and a prescription booklet with information on how to obtain your prescriptions. PharmaCare’s customer service number is listed in the booklet. If you have any questions, please contact the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan Advisors.



    NOTICE TO MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN PARTICIPANTS

    As you know, MM&P Health & Benefit Plan members have a new prescription benefit manager, PharmaCare. When you first obtain a prescription at your retail drug store, please show your new Health & Benefit Identification Card with PharmaCare’s information. If you do not show your card, please inform your pharmacist of the following information so you can receive your prescriptions through the Plan. Your identification number HAS NOT CHANGED. Please provide the pharmacist with your full member identification number. You will have to also provide the following numbers. RxGrp#- Z50136968, RxBin: 610468 and RxPCN: PC2 

    If your pharmacist has any questions, he or she should call PharmaCare directly at (800) 503-3241.  If you have any questions, PharmaCare members can call the company directly at (888) 364-6815.



    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. 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.

    © 2008, 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.

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