News

Wheelhouse Weekly – February 26, 2007

February 26th 2007

 

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

Volume 11 . . . . . Number 8. . . .February 26, 2007

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.


MM&P, MITAGS, TO HOST LNG TRAINING STANDARDS MEETING

The development of training standards for American mariners seeking work on liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers is the focus of a meeting that will take place Feb. 27-March 1 at MM&P’s training facility, MITAGS. The meeting, which will include representatives of the state and federal maritime academies and a number of labor unions, is being sponsored by the Maritime Administration (MARAD). The standards will encompass current regulatory requirements, as well as other competencies and assessments to be determined by the group. MARAD expects to be able to use the standards in its efforts to encourage the employment of American seafarers on LNG vessels. The moderator of the meeting is Christopher Moore, Assistant to Maritime Administrator Sean Connaughton. The meeting is being coordinated by MM&P Special Projects Director Richard Plant and MITAGS LNG Consultant Instructor Charles Snyder. Among the unions that will be represented at the meeting are the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), the American Maritime Officers (AMO), the Seafarers International Union (SIU) and the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific. This session  on the development of training standards is the outcome of a January 2007 meeting on LNG manning and training that included the Maritime Administrator and representatives of maritime unions and schools.


DESPITE SOME CONCERNS, MM&P CALLS USCG TWIC RULES BASIS FOR WORKABLE ACCESS CONTROL PROGRAM

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has made a good start in implementing a workable access control program, according to MM&P. In written comments submitted on the USCG’s Navigation and Inspection Circular (NVIC) on the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), the union said the NVIC format will give the Coast Guard the flexibility necessary to make quick revisions to the program should the need arise. The NVIC is scheduled to be released in the latter part of March.

Some of the proposed requirements, however, would place U.S. mariners on merchant ships at a disadvantage, MM&P says. Offshore supply vessels (OSVs) and modular offshore drilling units (MODUs) are exempt from TWIC requirements that foreign port workers without TWICs be provided a constant escort; merchant vessels, on the other hand, are covered. “Merchant ships are minimally manned and lack the resources to comply with extensive escort and monitoring provisions applicable to a large number of non-TWIC-holding foreign port workers,” MM&P wrote. “OSVs and MODUs are exempt from the TWIC requirements when operating in foreign ports or beyond the Outer Continental Shelf. We see no rationale for imposing different TWIC requirements on U.S.-flag merchant ships engaged in foreign trade and operating under similar circumstances.”

In the comments, MM&P also expressed concern over the risk of proliferation of local requirements for terminal security and access control. “Mariners are constantly in transit… Allowing different facilities to develop unique access control systems would make access more difficult and run counter to the goal of the program, which is to create a universally accepted identity document.” The union warned that allowing each terminal to have its own unique access control system would make the TWIC program a “massive failure.”


 

MARAD GIVES SHORT SEA SHIPPING A NEW NAME, NEW PROMINENCE

The creation of a short sea shipping network in the United States is one of the Administration’s top priorities, says Maritime Administrator Sean Connaughton. Speaking at a hearing of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Connaughton said short sea shipping, which MARAD calls “America’s Marine Highway,” is an environmentally friendly and cost-efficient approach to reducing traffic congestion on the nation’s roads. “When fully integrated into the nation’s transportation system,” Connaughton said, “our marine highways will permit enhanced freight flow, expand freight capacity, reduce congestion and improve air quality.” Connaughton told subcommittee members that MARAD is in the process of drafting a short sea shipping proposal for the Department of Transportation and, later, Congress. MARAD has also announced a new short sea shipping website, accessible at www.marad.dot.gov/Programs/America’s Marine Highways/Marine highways.html.



HOUSE SPEAKER PELOSI QUESTIONS DOL’S ROLE IN ALCATRAZ FERRY BATTLE

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is taking the Alcatraz ferry battle to the next level. In a Feb. 14 letter to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, Rep. Pelosi and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) questioned the Department of  Labor (DOL’s) commitment to monitoring and enforcing the Service Contract Act (SCA), which requires federal service contractors to pay workers prevailing wages and fringe benefits contained in predecessor collective bargaining agreements.

In the letter to Secretary Chao, Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Miller asked the agency to describe its enforcement activities related to SCAs, as well as its role in ensuring that Alcatraz Cruises, the non-union company that unseated unionized operator Blue & Gold in the controversial bidding process, is complying with the law. “Concerns have been raised to us that Alcatraz Cruises may not be in compliance with the SCA,” the letter states. “We have been told that current Alcatraz ferry workers are not receiving a number of benefits afforded them by the predecessor agreements, including retirement benefits. As in any locale, labor protections in the San Francisco Bay area are undermined if the Service Contract Act is not enforced.”

For decades, members of MM&P’s United Inland Group (UIG) and the Inland Boatmen’s Union (IBU) crewed the ferry that takes visitors from a pier on the San Francisco waterfront to what was formerly a federal prison and is now part of the National Park Service (NPS). Problems started nearly two years ago, when NPS put the ferry contract up for bid but failed to apply the SCA. Non-union company Hornblower Yachts won the bid by undercutting the unionized contract. Since September, Hornblower subsidiary Alcatraz Cruises has run the ferry service to the island.

In May 2006, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction barring award of the contract. NPS then signed an agreement with Alcatraz Cruises requiring compliance with the SCA, but the company continued pressing for waivers. DOL Wage and Hour Administrator Paul DeCamp ruled on Sept. 15 that the SCA applies to the Alcatraz ferry contract. Alcatraz Cruises has filed an appeal of that decision with DOL’s Administrative Review Board.



MITAGS SIMULATION CENTER GRAND OPENING MARCH 26

The Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies (MITAGS) announces the grand opening of its marine simulation technology center on March 26, from 1630 to 2030 hours. The event will include a reception, entertainment and continuous tours of the full-mission bridges, towing simulators, 14-station computer lab, vessel traffic system, All-Weather Navigation system and the crane simulator.

Guests will be able to view Full-Mission Simulator #1, one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated devices of this type, which has been upgraded and integrated into two towing, six part-task and one vessel traffic simulator. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP Brandi Smith at bsmith@mitags.org no later than March 19.

Investments in Simulator #1 and other state-of-the art equipment will enhance training and research at MITAGS and the Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle. To learn more about simulation at MITAGS, contact Robert Becker, at (866) 656-5569 or by e-mail rbecker@mitags.org. You can also visit www.mitags.org


HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE INCREASES MARITIME AND TRANSPORTATION FOCUS

The House Committee on Homeland Security, under the leadership of Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Ranking Republican Peter King (R-N.Y.), has appointed members to two new subcommittees dealing with maritime and transportation security issues. The first, the Subcommittee on Border, Maritime and Global Terrorism, will be chaired by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.).  She will be joined on the subcommittee by Democrats Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), James Langevin (D-R.I.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Al Green (D-Texas). Rep. Mark Souder (Ind.) will serve as the subcommittee’s Ranking Republican. The other Republicans on the subcommittee are Bobby Jindal (La.), David Reichert (Wash.), Michael McCaul (Texas) and Gus Bilirakis (Fla.).

The Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection is the second new legislative unit to be announced. It will be chaired by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas). Other Democrats on the subcommittee are Reps. Edward Markey (Mass.), Peter DeFazio (Ore.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.), Yvette Clarke (N.Y.) and Ed Perlmutter (Colo.).  Rep. Dan Lungren (Calif.) is the Ranking Republican. He will be joined by Republicans Ginny Brown-Waite (Fla.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), and Gus Bilirakis (Fla.).


MOORING AND UNMOORING CAUSE MOST ACCIDENTS ABOARD SHIPS

A high percentage of accidents aboard ships take place while crews are mooring and anchoring vessels, according to a study conducted by the Danish Maritime Authority. Between 1997 and 2005, the study found, mooring and unmooring led to 80 accidents on passenger ships and 193 on cargo ships. The study analyzed 17 serious accidents, three of which resulted in a death and 14 of which resulted in injuries.

Mooring and unmooring operations are conducted under pressure, amidst ropes, wires and complex machinery. High noise levels, equipment malfunction and limited overview of the mooring deck contributed to the tension felt by the crewmembers interviewed for the study, and to the risk of deadly errors being made.

In some cases, the study found, supervisors did not communicate clearly with mariners using the equipment, which led people to work too close to lines when winches were running. In other cases, the accidents were caused by frayed or chafed lines, poor maintenance of capstans or other technical problems. In one accident, a piece of metal torn from a drum struck a member of the ship’s crew. Other accidents were caused by external factors, such as the effect of wind, swell, current or the unanticipated movement of a tug on the mooring lines and equipment.

The findings of the study have been submitted to the International Maritime Organization, which is tracking accident trends to develop improved safety standards.


SUPPORT FOR MARINER THANK-YOU LEGISLATION GROWING

HR 23, the “Belated Thank-You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2007,” is attracting growing bipartisan support in the House of Representatives.  Originally introduced by Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) with seven cosponsors, HR 23 now has sixteen. The most recent additions to the bill’s list of supporters are Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), Dan Burton (R-Ind.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Phil Hare (D-Ill.), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and John Shimkus (R-Ill.). MM&P will continue to urge members of Congress to cosponsor the legislation and work for its speedy enactment.


MERPAC ANNOUNCES MARCH MEETING SCHEDULE

The Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC), which advises the Secretary of Homeland Security on training, qualifications, licensing and certification, has announced the program of full committee and working group meetings for the month of March. All meetings are open to the public. Requests to make oral presentations should reach the Coast Guard on or before March 1.  

The MERPAC working group on merchant mariner medical waiver evaluation guidelines (Task Statement 61) will meet March 12-13 at the North Pacific Fishing Vessel Owners’ Association (NPFVOA), 1900 W. Emerson Place, Suite 101, Seattle, Wash. 98119. The full MERPAC committee will meet March 12-15 at the Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, Wash. 98104.

Among the task statements that may be addressed by the working groups are: #30 (Utilizing Military Sea Service for STCW Certifications); #51 (Minimum Standard of Competence on Tanker Safety); #55 (Recommendations to Develop a Voluntary Training Program for Deck and Engine Department Entry Level Mariners on Domestic and Seagoing Vessels); #58 (Stakeholder Communications During MLD Program Restructuring and Centralization); #59 (Access to Shore Leave by Merchant Mariners); #60 (Recommendations on Sea Service Required to Obtain Propulsion Mode Credit at the Operational and Management Levels); and #61 (Merchant Mariner Medical Waiver Evaluation Guidelines).

All the task statements are posted on MERPAC’s web site. View them at  www.uscg.mil/hq/g-m/advisory/merpac/merpac.htm. For further information, contact Assistant to the Executive Director Mark Gould, 202-372-1409 or mark.c.gould@uscg.mil.


IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT ALL MM&P AND MITAGS MAILING ADDRESSES

MM&P has received a notice from the post office advising that it will no longer deliver mail that it considers incorrectly addressed. All mail must have: the name of the individual (if going to a person); the name of the organization; the street address and suite number; and, on the same line, the city, state and zip+4.

The correct address for MM&P headquarters is: 
MM&P
700 Maritime Boulevard, Suite B
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941

The correct address for MM&P Plans is:
700 Maritime Boulevard, Suite A
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1996
The correct address for the MM&P Federal Credit Union is:
Kathy Ann Klisavage, Credit Union Manager
Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union
700 Maritime Blvd., Suite B
Linthicum Heights,  MD  21090-1941

The correct address for MITAGS is:
692 Maritime Boulevard
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1996


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

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


AIS – Automatic Identification System: 3/23
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 3/6, 4/3, 5/1

BRM Bridge Resource Management: 4/23
BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/2
BST – Basic Safety Training: 3/12, 4/9

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 3/19, 4/2
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 4/23
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 4/16
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management II (week 1): 4/30
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): 3/12, 4/9
Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/19, 4/16
CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 3/12

CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 4/25

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 3/12, 4/9

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 4/16

LAP � License Advancement Program: 5/28
MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 3/22

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/3, 4/21
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/16

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 3/30
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 3/22, 4/23
Available on a Stand-By Basis Only: MSC-SMA � Small Arms: 3/36
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): 3/26
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/5, 3/12, 4/2, 4/30

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 3/19
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 4/23
SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 4/2, 4/30
SHS-EMR- BRMP-3- Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/19


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 – Spring 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.

FOR REGISTRATION CALL JENNIFER FOWLER: 206 838-1126

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

March 2007
5-6 SAR
6-9 LFBT
7-9 EP
12-16 BST
12-16 AB
12-16 STB BAS
12-16 ARPA
19-23 CHS BAS
19-23 SHS EMR-5
19 RADAR RENEWAL

April 2007
2-6 WX BAS
2-6 TPIC
9-11 SEC VCF
9-13 FF BADV
9-13 SHS BAS
9-13 ARPA
9-13 ECDIS
9-20 GMDSS
16-27 WKP BAS
16-4 TCNAV/CO BEGIN APRIL ’07 AB TO MATE PROGRAM
23-25 BRM
24-27 LFBT
30-4 AB
30-4 FF ADV
30-4 SHS BAS

May 2007
7-11 SHS BAS
7-18 GMDSS
7-18 CNAV
14-18 ARPA
14-18 SHS EMR-5
14-25 GMDSS
15TH RADAR RENEWAL
16-18 FF ADV
21-25 BST
21-25 ENAV
21-25 CHS BAS
21ST FL
22-23 SHS ASSESS
29TH FL

June 2007
TCNAV/CO – BEGIN JUNE ’07 AB TO MATE PROGRAM
LICENSE PREP
TPIC
MEDPRO
MED PIC
WKP BAS
GMDSS
LFBT
BST
AB
11-12         SHS ASSESS
11-15         ECDIS
11-13         SEC VCF
18-22         ARPA
18-22         SHS BAS
19TH      RADAR RENEW
SHS ASSESS
25-29         FF BADV
25-29         ROP

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 2-23-2007

 

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
12,647.48 2,515.10 1,451.19
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
133.97
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
41.28
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
24.88
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
19.69
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
35.74
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.21
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
6.30
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.01
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
19.62
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.57
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
32.06
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
94.20
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
21.88
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
86.08
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
51.49
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
34.33

.






~ 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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