Wheelhouse Weekly – March 19, 2007
– Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use –
Volume 11 . . . . . Number 11. . . .March 19, 2007
- Key Congressman Pushes Short Sea Shipping
- Support for MSP Funding Grows
- 90-Day Ballot on Merchant Officers’ Labor Alliance Mailed
- European Parliament Calls for Ratification of Maritime Labor Convention
- Remembering Former Atlantic Ports VP Henri Nereaux
- Long Island Sound Pilots Focus on Safety, Rates
- New Competency Standards for Ratings Developed for STCW Code
- More Representatives Line Up Behind Mariners’ Thank You Bill
- Remembering Maritime Labor Leader Tal Simpkins
- Post Office Assigns New Zip Code to MM&P
- Does the Health & Benefit Plan Have Your Correct Address?
- Department of Homeland Security Moves Forward on New Personnel Rules
- MITAGS Simulation Center Grand Opening March 26
- MITAGS Academic Notes
- PMI Academic Notes
- MM&P Market Watch
Did you miss a week? Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the section.
KEY CONGRESSMAN PUSHES SHORT SEA SHIPPING
Legislation that would eliminate a significant impediment to the development and operation of a short sea shipping-marine highway system in the United States has been introduced by Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). The Short Sea Shipping Promotion Act of 2007, HR 1499, would exempt from the harbor maintenance tax (HMT) goods moved by water from one U.S. port to another, or between the United States and Canada. The harbor maintenance tax, which is not assessed on cargo moved by truck or rail between American ports, adds to the cost of waterborne transportation, making it less attractive to shippers. HR 1499 has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
“Our nation urgently needs to take practical steps to address the significant challenges we face in maintaining the flow of freight on which our economy depends,” the congressman said in introducing HR 1499. This bill “is just the first step of a concerted and deliberate effort I will undertake to support the potential of maritime transportation, in general, and short sea shipping, in particular, to be a reliable, cost-effective mode in our national transportation network.” MM&P has strongly and consistently supported such legislation. The union and MIRAID will work with Chairman Cummings and his colleagues to promote speedy enactment of HR 1499.
SUPPORT FOR MSP FUNDING GROWS
Congressmen Ike Skelton (D-Miss.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), the chairman and ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, are leading the effort to secure fiscal year 2008 funding for the Maritime Security Program (MSP). In a letter slated to go to the House Committee on Appropriations, the representatives remind their colleagues that the Maritime Security Program “was enacted to ensure that the United States has the U.S.-flag commercial sealift capability and trained U.S.-citizen merchant mariners it needs in time of war or other international emergency.”
“Most importantly,” the letter goes on to say, “the continued funding and implementation of the MSP ensures that America will in fact be able to support and supply our troops overseas by guaranteeing that American-flag vessels and American crews–and not foreign-flag vessels and foreign crews–will be available to transport the supplies and equipment our troops need.” The Administration has requested $154.4 million for MSP for fiscal year 2008, slightly less than the $156 million previously authorized by Congress and also the amount that is necessary to fully fund the program. To date, Reps. Skelton and Hunter have been joined in this effort by Reps. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) and John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman and ranking Republican on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure; Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Seapower; and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.
It is expected that action on MSP appropriations for fiscal year 2008 will take place within the next two months. MM&P and MIRAID will continue to work during this time to ensure that our elected officials understand the importance of the Maritime Security Program to the military and economic security of our nation and to urge Congress to fully fund MSP in the next fiscal year.
MERCHANT OFFICERS’ LABOR ALLIANCE MAILED
The 90-day ratification ballot for the Merchant Officers’ Labor Alliance (MOLA) was mailed to MM&P members on Thursday, March 15. The agreement sets forth a number of goals that MM&P and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) would like to jointly pursue. The final agreement includes input received from the membership of both unions. The full text of the MOLA is available in union halls and online at www.bridgedeck.org.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CALLS FOR RATIFICATION OF MARITIME LABOR CONVENTION
The European Parliament has adopted a report that urges European Union (EU) member states to quickly ratify the Consolidated Maritime Labor Convention adopted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2006. The convention seeks to improve seafarers’ working conditions and reduce the unfair advantages that accrue to industry players who don’t respect the rules.
The convention incorporates into a single text all the conventions and recommendations on maritime labor adopted by the ILO since 1919. It sets labor standards for vessels of 500 gross tons or more engaged in international trade or sailing between foreign ports.
The convention will take effect when it has been ratified by at least 30 member states which together represent at least one third of the world’s merchant shipping tonnage. EU member states are expected to quickly ratify the convention, since they voted in favor of it in Geneva in February 2006.
A major focus of the convention is to define decent working conditions and normalize the status of seafarers across national boundaries so as to limit the negative effects of globalization. The report adopted by the EU points out that shipowners who comply with the rules in force and guarantee good working conditions often find themselves at a competitive disadvantage with unscrupulous operators who cut corners in areas such as the health and welfare of employees.
REMEMBERING FORMER ATLANTIC PORTS VP HENRI NEREAUX
Henri Nereaux, who served MM&P as a convention delegate and as Atlantic Ports Vice President during the political turmoil of the mid-seventies and mid-eighties, died Thursday, March 8. After his retirement, he served as Master of Arms at a number of MM&P conventions and continued to attend the union’s social functions. “He always kept an ear to the ground for pieces of stray information that could be of value to the union,” said MM&P International President Tim Brown. “He was gregarious to a fault and was always fighting for the underdog.” Henri was active in social causes up until the time of his death, says Atlantic Ports Vice President Rich May. “He was always seated in the front row of the membership meetings at the New York/New Jersey hall. His presence will be sorely missed.”
LONG ISLAND SOUND PILOTS FOCUS ON SAFETY, RATES
Pilots operating in Long Island Sound under a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between New York and Connecticut discussed safety and rate issues at the March meeting of the Connecticut Pilots Association. Of particular concern to Connecticut pilots: launch safety at Bridgeport and the determination of what constitutes a safe pilot transfer site in Block Island Sound. There was no news on the pay raise for MOA participants proposed by the pilot commission in recent months and still under review by the governor’s office. At Bridgeport, pilots refuse to use the local launch service because of alleged deficiencies in safety equipment. The pilots have chosen to use an alternative service which local agents say is generating increased costs for shippers. On another safety front, Connecticut pilots are lobbying the state Department of Transportation for an alternative pilot boarding area in Long Island Sound when adverse weather conditions prevent safe boarding in what are currently the designated areas.
NEW COMPETENCY STANDARDS FOR RATINGS DEVELOPED FOR STCW CODE
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping Subcommittee has established new international standards for the certification of the competency of unlicensed personnel in the deck and engine departments. The standards will be incorporated into the STCW Code. The responsibility for establishing competency standards for ratings was recently shifted to the IMO from the International Labor Organization (ILO).
The new standards, which were finalized by IMO subcommittee members during their January meeting in London, contain gender-neutral language and set minimum seatime requirements for unlicensed seafarers. The subcommittee established that seagoing experience for “able seafarer deck”— previously called Able Bodied Seaman (AB) — should be at least 18 months, or 12 months with approved training completed.
The subcommittee also defined the requirements for “able seafarer engine”—formerly Qualified Member of the Engine Department (QMED): at least 12 months of seagoing experience, or at least six months with approved training completed.
The United States, which played a major role in the debate, proposed what it called more flexible standards that could be modified for able seafarer deck and able seafarer engine depending on the types of ships and area of operation. The U.S. proposal was rejected after other delegations argued successfully that it would limit seafarers’ ability to transfer between different types of ships or different areas without undergoing additional training.
MM&P and other labor unions participating in the IMO subcommittee session in January helped develop the competency standards for ratings. The unions worked successfully in the meeting to limit debate on amendments to STCW 95 to ensure opening the code to review does not lead to cumbersome new training and licensing requirements for maritime labor.
MORE REPRESENTATIVES LINE UP BEHIND MARINERS’ THANK YOU BILL
MM&P’s efforts to generate greater visible support for HR 23, the “Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2007,” continues to be successful. Over the past week, another 12 representatives have added their names to the list of supporters of the legislation. Introduced by Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), chairman of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, HR 23 now has 51 cosponsors. The new cosponsors are Reps. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa), Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.), Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), Ray LaHood (R-Ill.), George Miller (D-Calif.), James Moran (D-Va.), Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.), John Tierney (D-Mass.) and Jerry Weller (R-Ill.). HR 23 is awaiting action by the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the House Committee on Ways and Means. For updates on the bill’s progress, go to U.S. Congress on the Internet at http://thomas.loc.gov/
The legislation would provide a $1,000 monthly benefit to eligible World War II merchant mariners or their surviving spouses. According to Congressman Filner, HR 23 is intended to “correct an injustice that has been inflicted upon a group of World War II veterans, the World War II United States merchant mariners.”
REMEMBERING MARITIME LABOR LEADER TAL SIMPKINS
Talmage E. Simpkins, who devoted 50 years to seafarers and to the maritime community as a whole, died Sunday, March 11, of injuries sustained in a traffic accident last month. The 79-year-old labor leader was in his 18th year as President of United Seamen’s Service. “Tal Simpkins has been a fixture on the maritime scene for over 50 years,” said MM&P International President Tim Brown. “His untimely death leaves a hole that may never be filled.”
Simpkins began his maritime career in 1956 as administrative assistant to the executive director of the AFL-CIO Maritime Committee. In 1959, he joined the Labor Management Maritime Committee as research consultant, moving up the ranks to become executive vice president before retiring last year. He was elected executive director of the AFL-CIO Maritime Committee in 1970. In 2002, he received the Admiral of the Ocean Seas Award (AOTOS) award in recognition of his life’s work in favor of seafaring labor.
POST OFFICE ASSIGNS NEW ZIP CODE TO MM&P
The post office has just informed MM&P that the union’s zip code has been changed to 21090-1953. The correct address for the union is now:
700 Maritime Blvd., Suite B
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953
DOES THE HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN HAVE YOUR CORRECT ADDRESS?
The MM&P Health & Benefit Plan sends out important communications to our members on a regular basis. It is essential that we have your correct address on file. If your address has changed, please contact Plans:
MM&P Health & Benefit Plans
700 Maritime Blvd., Suite A
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1996
The post office has also informed us that it will no longer deliver improperly addressed mail to the union or to MM&P Plans. This is a good opportunity to make sure that your address book is up to date, and to contact your medical providers to make sure they have the correct address for MM&P Plans in their own files.
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY MOVES FORWARD ON NEW PERSONNEL RULES
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has informed leaders of two unions that it plans to implement some portions of a controversial set of personnel reforms. Although MM&P members are not affected by the DHS rules, maritime labor is closely monitoring the situation because the Department of Defense (DOD) has been working to apply other controversial personnel system reforms to a group of employees that would include civilian mariners. The DOD proposal was put forth under the name “National Security Personnel System (NSPS).” MM&P members and other civilian mariners are excluded from the human resource and appeals provisions of NSPS, but not from the labor relations provisions.
In letters to the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), DHS announced last week that certain parts of its personnel rules would apply to bargaining unit members “as soon as practicable.” Labor unions have opposed the changes, arguing they would give managers too much power and infringe on the rights of employees. AFGE and NTEU have led a successful lawsuit against some portions of the plan. Last June, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a lower court decision that portions of the rules illegally curtailed collective bargaining rights for employees by giving management the ability to cancel negotiated agreements after the fact. DHS’s newly proposed plan would implement the rules the appeals court did not strike down, those dealing with adverse personnel actions and appeals of adverse actions, as well as those covering performance management. The unions say they will continue to oppose the changes.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com. You can also visit www.mitags.org
MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES
CLASS OPENINGS: Between now and the end of May 2007, seats are available in the following courses:
AIS – Automatic Identification System: 3/23
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 4/3
BRM Bridge Resource Management: 4/23, 5/28
BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/2
BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/9
[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 4/2
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 4/23
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 4/16
CMM-ECDIS � Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 4/30, 5/28
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 5/21
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management II (week 1): 4/30
Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/9
Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 4/16
CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 5/14
CONT-PLNG � Contingency Planning: 5/18
CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 4/25
FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 4/9
HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 4/16
LAP � License Advancement Program: 5/28
MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 3/22, 5/17
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 4/21, 5/19
MED-PIC � Medical Person-In-Charge: 5/14
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/16, 5/14
[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 3/30, 5/24
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 3/22, 4/23, 5/22
Available on a Stand-By Basis Only: MSC-SMA � Small Arms: 5/21
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 5/25 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)
ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 3/26, 5/14
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 4/2, 4/30
SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 5/14
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 4/23, 5/28
SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 4/2, 4/30
SHS-EMR- BRMP-3- Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/20
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: firstname.lastname@example.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)
19-23 CHS BAS
19-23 SHS EMR-5
19TH RADAR RENEWAL
2-6 WX BAS
9-11 SEC VCF
9-13 FF BADV
9-13 SHS BAS
16-27 WKP BAS
16-4 TCNAV/CO BEGIN APRIL ’07 AB TO MATE PROGRAM
30-4 FF ADV
30-4 SHS BAS
7-11 SHS BAS
14-18 SHS EMR-5
15TH RADAR RENEWAL
16-18 FF ADV
21-25 CHS BAS
22-23 SHS ASSESS
TCNAV/CO – BEGIN JUNE ’07 AB TO MATE PROGRAM
11-12 SHS ASSESS
11-13 SEC VCF
18-22 SHS BAS
19TH RADAR RENEW
25-29 FF BADV
10th RADAR RENEWAL
10-11 SIM ASSESS
16-20 MED PRO
23rd RADAR RENEWAL
23-27 SHS BAS
30-3 MED PRO
30-10 MED PIC
13-17 SHS EM5
20-31 SHS ADV
20-24 CHS BAS
27-31 MED PRO
4-8 WX BAS
10th RADAR RENEWAL
10-14 MED PRO
10-14 SHS BAS
17-21 MED PRO
17-21 SHS BAS
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 3-16-2007
|D O W||N A S D A Q||S & P 500|
|Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)||
|Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)||
|Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)||
|Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)||
|Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)||
|Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)||
|Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)||
|Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)||
|Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)||
|Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)||
|Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)||
|Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)||
|Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)||
|Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)||
|Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)||
|Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)||
~ Reminders ~
T-AGS OCEANOGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIPS MANNING REQUIREMENTS
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: email@example.com, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:
Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects
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.
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 email@example.com 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”.
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