News

Wheelhouse Weekly – September 27, 2010

September 27th 2010

 

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

Volume 14 . . . . . Number 39. . . .September 27, 2010

STORIES COVERED

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


ANTI-LABOR FORCES IN SENATE LOSE BATTLE OVER NEWLY SANCTIONED UNION ELECTION PROCEDURE

A group of anti-labor senators led by Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson last week lost their bid to block new democratic election procedures for workers in the aviation and rail industries who want to form unions and bargain collectively. President Obama had said he would have vetoed the measure had the result been different.

Earlier this year, the National Mediation Board (NMB) issued a rule that says air and rail union elections must be decided by a majority of votes cast. Previously, each worker who did not cast a vote in a representation election was automatically counted as a “No” vote.

There are, of course, many reasons why a person may not vote in an election, and it makes no sense to automatically and arbitrarily assign a “no” vote to all non-voters. As a result, the old process was structurally tilted against workers seeking representation.

The new NMB voting procedure, which mirrors that used in all other U.S. elections, had been strongly upheld in June by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

In a letter to the Senate urging defeat of the Isakson resolution, AFL-CIO Government Affairs Director William Samuel said the “undemocratic procedures that Republicans want to impose on air and rail workers would never be tolerated in our civic elections.”

In a statement of policy issued on Friday, the Obama Administration said the Isakson resolution “would undermine a fundamental principle of fairness” in union elections and warned of a veto if the resolution had been approved by the Senate and then the House.

The new NMB rule provides workers with an opportunity to vote either for a union, against a union, or to abstain from voting and have a voting majority decide the outcome. The new rules “are the same that we use to elect senators and members of Congress, and they are found throughout our democratic society,” said AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Edward Wytkind.

The NMB is now operating under the new rules and has moved forward with several representation elections.


PORTS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA AND BALTIMORE REPORT INCREASE IN TRAFFIC

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley announced last week that some key commodities shipped through the Port of Baltimore’s public marine terminals are rebounding. On a year-to-year basis, he said, automobiles were up 26 percent, pulp was up 13 percent and containers were up two percent. “The improved performance of some of our key cargos is a positive sign as we continue to bounce back from the worst economic period since the Great Depression,” O’Malley said.

In related news, combined imports into the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach grew 23.9 percent in August over the same month a year ago. Containerized imports in Los Angeles were up 23.3 percent compared to August 2009 and Long Beach saw imports increase 24.5 percent.

These results mirror a U.S. Commerce Department report that showed retail sales increased 0.4 percent in August, the second straight monthly gain and the strongest month-to-month increase in five months.


WORKERS FIRED UP ABOUT ONE NATION MARCH

Working families are getting fired up about the “One Nation Working Together” march Oct. 2 in Washington, D.C.
Nearly 200 progressive groups, including the AFL-CIO, NAACP, National Council of La Raza and many individual unions, have come together in One Nation, a multiracial, labor, civil and human rights movement whose mission is to reorder our nation’s priorities to invest in our nation’s most valuable resource—our people.

After the Oct. 2 rally, tens of thousands of activists will return to their neighborhoods, congregations, schools and, especially, voting booths, fired up with new energy to take back the country. On the same day, the union movement will walk door to door in targeted states around the country, mobilizing union members for the fall elections.

“One Nation” is our chance to tell the country that working people and civil and human rights activists are turning the discussion away from fear-mongering and deficit doom-saying to renewing the American Dream for everyone. Coming just one month before the fall election, the march could have a huge impact, says Transport Workers (TWU) President James Little. “This November’s congressional and state races will decide our country’s direction for years to come and have vital importance for every working American,” he said. “This mobilization will demonstrate the power of our united ‘One Nation’ coalition, created by forces of goodwill that stand for hope and change.”


MATSON ADDS FIVE FOREIGN-FLAG VESSELS TO ITS CHINA-LONG BEACH SERVICE

Matson Navigation has deployed five foreign-flag ships in its China service. Company spokesmen say they decided to launch the new service, which is being called “the China-Long Beach Express II,” because of their “long-term confidence” in the China trade and the success of the company’s four-year-old U.S.-flag China-Long Beach Express service. The foreign-flag vessels are named KOHALA, KAILUA, KAINALU, KALANI and KAIMOKU. Since these ships will not carry cargo between U.S. ports, the Jones Act is not applicable, which means the company has no legal obligation to operate them under U.S. flag with U.S. crews.


JAPAN RELEASES CHINESE FISHING BOAT CAPTAIN

The government of Japan last week released the captain of a Chinese fishing boat who had been held for two weeks in the context of a border dispute. The Japanese had arrested the captain after he refused to exit the disputed area and then crashed his vessel into two Japanese patrol boats. Although it released the captain, Japan rejected China’s repeated demands that it apologize and offer compensation to the fishing boat captain. The underlying dispute involves a chain of islands known as Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu or Diaoyutai in Chinese.

The diplomatic back-and-forth over the weekend demonstrated that nationalistic sentiments stirred up by the incident show few signs of dissipating. Tensions have already affected business ties between the nations’ intertwined economies. The incident had driven relations between China and Japan to their worst in years with Beijing angrily demanding the captain be released and cutting off ministerial-level talks with Japan.


ANTI-PIRACY PETITION GARNERS OVER 900,000 SIGNATURES

The anti-piracy petition launched in June by an international coalition of labor and maritime industry groups was presented to the head of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on World Maritime Day, Sept. 23. In the space of four months, 920,000 people in 185 countries added their voices to the chorus calling on governments to finally enact meaningful, effective measures in the fight against piracy. The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) called the response on the part of the public “massive.”

The petition was launched as the centerpiece of a campaign to persuade all governments to commit the resources necessary to end the increasing problem of Somalia-based piracy. The original goal was to collect half a million signatures. Sponsors called the overwhelming response definitive proof that immediate action is needed.

At present, 354 seafarers and 16 ships are being held hostage in Somalia, pirates are being released unprosecuted to kidnap, loot and maybe kill again, and it is impossible to use routes via the Suez Canal between Asia/the Middle East and Europe/North America without passing through a high-risk area. The campaign calls on governments to: dedicate significant resources and work to find real solutions to the growing piracy problem; take immediate steps to secure the release and safe return of kidnapped seafarers to their families; work within the international community to secure a stable and peaceful future for Somalia and its people.

“Thousands of seafarers are being put at risk daily by fewer than a thousand AK-47-toting bandits, and world trade is literally being held hostage,” said ITF General Secretary David Cockroft. “Every country in the world is affected, yet the response of nations has varied from near-heroic to hand-washing indifference.”

“At a time when some countries are actively escorting merchant ships and pursuing pirates and a few – too few – are prosecuting them when caught, the majority, including many of those who make the most from shipping, are doing little or nothing,” he added. “For us, this campaign is about making everyone step up and shoulder their responsibilities.”

“The international community can no longer afford to sit on its hands and cede control of its vital seaways to criminals,” agreed International Shipping Federation President Spyros M. Polemis.


MAERSK TO PARTNER WITH OTHER CARRIERS IN ANTI-PIRACY FIGHT

Maersk Lines has announced it will join forces with two of the world’s other leading container lines, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM, in the fight against piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. A spokesman for Maersk said cooperation between the three liner companies will involve exchanging information on safety measures, piracy policies and procedures, and coordinating communication with other private sector parties and governments. “Our first and foremost concern is the safety and security of our crews. Piracy continues to be a problem for the shipping industry and if we want to address it effectively, we as ship owners must cooperate,” the shipping lines said in a joint statement.


EUROPEAN FORCES EXTEND ANTI-PIRACY OPERATIONS EASTWARD

EU NAVFOR has responded to the increasing number of pirate attacks taking place farther from the Somali coast by extending its area of operation in the Indian Ocean. “As the effectiveness of protection measures employed within the Gulf of Aden has increased, pirates have started to operate in previously unused areas to avoid interdiction by EU NAVFOR and other counter-piracy forces,” the anti-piracy force said in a statement. The movement of pirates into areas further from the coastline became evident during last year’s inter-monsoon periods, it added.


THREE FRENCH MARINERS KIDNAPPED IN NIGERIA

An anchor-handling tug supply boat operated by Bourbon was raided last week by gunmen on three speedboats who kidnapped three crewmembers. The incident, which took place at the Addax offshore oil field off the Nigerian coast, involved the AHTS BOURBON ALEXANDRE. The other 13 crewmembers were not harmed in the attack.


BUY UNION-MADE TREATS FOR THE LITTLE GHOSTS AND GOBLINS!

When you hear a knock on the door on Halloween, make sure you have a full supply of union-made-in-America treats on hand. Here’s a brief list of sweets made by members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM); snack foods by members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW); and  fruit and nuts from members of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).

Hershey milk chocolate and almond bars; Necco wafers; Mary Jane peanut butter chews; Thin Mints; Kit Kat bars; Rollos; Clark Bars; Carmello Bars; Cadbury Bars; Ghiradelli chocolates; Gimbals Fine Candies; Kathryn Beich specialty candy; Famous Old Time Candies (gourmet chocolates); Goelitz Confections and Gummis; Pearson’s Candy Co., including Salted Nut Rolls; Pet Rats; Sweet Temptations; Sunkist Fruit Gel Slices; Anabelle’s Candy Co.: Abbazabbz, Big Hunks and Boston Baked Beans; American Licorice; Black & Red Vines; Jordon Almonds; Strawberry Ropes; Sconza Candies; Sconza jawbreakers and chocolate covered cherries; Frito-Lay chips and snacks; Orville Redenbacher popcorn.

Members of the United Farm Workers (UFW) help produce various fruits and nuts with the UFW label, including products from: Coastal Berry Co., Swanton Berry, Montpelier Almonds, Brown Date Gardent Dates, Mann’s California Apples, and citrus fruit from Sunkist, Sunworld, Airdrome and Big Jim.


MM&P PLAN OFFICE SENDS OUT NEW HEALTH & BENEFIT ID CARDS

The MM&P Plan Office is sending out new medical benefit identification cards that carry the name of our new PPO provider, CIGNA. All participants should receive their new cards well before the Oct. 1 effective date. You can continue to use your current medical identification card (showing First Health as your PPO Provider) until Sept. 30. After Sept. 30, please destroy your old card. Your new card has also been updated with the name of our prescription provider: CVS Caremark. 

The Plan Office is also preparing to send out new ID cards for our retired members who are Medicare Primary. The new cards include the updated information (name and logo) for our prescription provider: CVS Caremark. 


UPDATE ON PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

The Trustees received a report from the Health & Benefit Plan’s lawyers and consultants concerning the details of the new law and recently issued regulations. For calendar-year plans such as ours, we will be making the following changes effective Jan. 1, 2011: (1) the Plan will provide coverage for dependents up to age 26 who do not already have health coverage available through their own employer; (2) elimination of the Plan’s lifetime benefit maximum reimbursement limitation currently at $1 million for CNW members or $1.5 million for Offshore and Pilot members; and (3) increase the Pensioners’ annual calendar-year reimbursement maximum from $250,000 to $750,000. The Trustees directed the Plan’s lawyers to draft the required amendments to the Plan for review and approval by the Chairman and the Secretary. The Trustees also agreed to have a 90-day open enrollment period during which dependents can re-enroll under the Plan. It is expected that this open enrollment period will begin on Nov. 1, 2010 and continue until Jan. 31, 2011, with coverage effective on Jan. 1, 2011. Over the next few weeks, the Plan Office will be working with the lawyers and consultants to create the open enrollment forms and materials which the Plan will send to all participants. The Plan Office will continue to provide participants with updates as soon as the information becomes available.


ATTENTION PENNSYLVANIA, TEXAS AND VIRGINIA VOTERS: UPDATES MADE TO ONLINE LIST OF CONGRESSMEN MM&P SUPPORTS

All 435 members of the House of Representatives and 37 members of the Senate face re-election on Nov. 2. If you are a member of MM&P, you can go to www.bridgedeck.org to access a user friendly, state-by-state listing of the candidates for public office who have consistently demonstrated their support for the U.S.-flag maritime industry. The names of the congressmen and senators who have supported MM&P in the ongoing fight to protect your job and the jobs of other American maritime workers are posted in the Members Only pages of www.bridgedeck.org. Click on the “Who We Support” link to see a user-friendly, state-by-state list of the legislators who have received support in this election from the MM&P Political Contribution Fund (PCF).
The names of legislators in Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia who have received support from the MM&P PCF have just been added to the list, so if you live in those states and have already checked the list, please view the recent additions at your convenience.
You should also consider voting early or requesting an absentee ballot if you think you may not be able to go to the polls on Nov. 2. All states offer voters the option of voting prior to the election. In some states, you can request an absentee ballot and send it back by mail. This is referred to as “absentee voting.” Other states permit voters to vote in person at the offices of county clerks or at other satellite voting locations. This is referred to as “early voting” or “in-person absentee voting.”
For an easily accessible, state-by-state guide on how to vote early or by absentee ballot, you can go to the National Council of State Legislatures website, http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=16604.
For information on voting early or by absentee ballot in your state of residence, you can also go to the U.S. Election Commission site, http://www.eac.gov/, and click on “Resources for Voters.”  


TRUSTEES RAISE MAXIMUM OF BANKED VACATION DAYS FOR OFFSHORE MEMBERS

At the most recent Board of Trustees meeting, the Trustees agreed to increase, from 45 to 60, the number of regular earned vacation days that members of the Offshore group can bank. Please note that the 150 vacation day maximum has not been changed: if you earn over 150 vacation days between your banked and current vacation days, you must be paid for all vacation days earned.


AVONDALE SHIPYARD WORKERS RALLY IN SUPPORT OF GOOD JOBS

On Friday, workers at the Avondale shipyard in Louisiana held a rally as part of the “Save Our Shipyards” (SOS) campaign. Participants rallied on the heels of an announcement by the Navy that it would accelerate construction of double-hulled oil tankers to 2014 and save thousands of jobs at the Avondale shipyard, which was slated to close in 2013 after winding down construction on the last ship orders. Over 5,000 workers would be directly affected by the shipyard closing.

 “The AFL-CIO applauds the Navy’s recent efforts at Avondale to protect American jobs and maintain the shipbuilding industry in the United States” said AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt Baker. “The shipyard industry is a vital lifeline to the Gulf Coast region. This region has been pummeled by disaster after disaster, and the working community in Louisiana cannot afford the massive economic crisis that would result if this shipyard closes.”


MAN JUMPS OFF CRUISE SHIP AFTER LOSING AT BACCARAT

A middle-aged resident of the Chinese mainland jumped from the cruise ship SUPERSTAR AQUARIUS after losing the equivalent of over half a million dollars at the baccarat table. The man, who police have identified only as “Xu,” jumped from the Star Cruises vessel as it sailed back to Hong Kong. Passengers who were with him in the casino say he gambled all night, and then went to the deck, where he hesitated for about an hour before jumping. Rescuers were able to retrieve his body after an hour-long search.


TOXIC CHEMICALS IN CONTAINERS MISSING AFTER MUMBAI ACCIDENT

The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) reports that at least 189 containers, eight of which contain toxic materials, are still missing from the MSC CHITRA. A team of divers has been brought in to search for the missing containers. Port authorities in Mumbai say the containers are no longer in the shipping lanes and do not affect ships traveling into the port. The MSC CHITRA collided with the KHALIJIA-III on Aug. 7, just outside the port of Mumbai. Since the accident, 111 containers have been removed; 200 remain on the damaged ship.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Between now and the end of December 2010, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.  For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail: admissions@mitags.org.

AB � Able Bodied Seaman: 10/18
ARPA � Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 11/30
Azipod for Pilots: 10/14

BRM- Bridge Resource Management: 12/13
BRMP � Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 11/29
BST � Basic Safety Training: 10/11

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]CMM-ADVWX � Advanced Meteorology: 11/1
CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 11/1
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Operations (week 1): 11/8
CMM-CHS II � Advanced Cargo Operations (week 2): 10/4, 11/15
CMM-ECDIS � Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 11/15, 12/13
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/25, 11/29
CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1): 10/11, 12/6
CMM-SHMGT II – Ship Management (week 2): 10/18, 12/13
CMM-SHS-ADV-I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 10/25, 11/29
CMM-SHS-ADV-I I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 10/4, 11/1, 12/6
CMM-VPEN � Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 11/8, 12/6
CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 10/25, 11/29

CHS BAS � Cargo Handling and Stowage: 10/11
CONT PLNG � Contingency Planning: 11/11
CSE-AWR-2 � Confined Space Awareness: 11/11


ENVIRO-Regs Permit � Environmental Regulations Permit: 11/10
ENAV � Electronic Navigation: 11/1

FF-BADV � Fire Fighting Combined Basic and Advanced: 10/11
FSM � Fatique, Sleep and Medications for Pilots: 12/1

GMDSS – Global Marine Distress Safety System: 10/18

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 11/29

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 10/12, 11/29

MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 11/8
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 11/8
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 10/2, 11/13

Military Sealift Command Courses:
MSC-CBRD-1 – Basic CBR Defense (Orientation): 10/8
MSC-DC – Damage Control (Evening Course): 10/4
MSC-SMA – Small Arms: 10/4, 11/15

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 10/20, 11/17, 12/1, 12/15
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Day Class: 11/29
ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 11/15

SEC-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 10/8
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 10/11, 11/15, 12/13
SHS-EMR3 – Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots: 12/1
SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling: 10/18
SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 10/11

…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 e-mail: admissions@mitags.org


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at www.mates.org

For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126

October 2010

4-8      Tankerman Person-in-Charge
4-15     Basic Watchkeeping with BRM
12-15   ARPA
18-29  Celestial Navigation
18-22  Medical Care Provider – Standby only
23rd    Med DOT
25-27  Fast Rescue Boat
27th    Radar Renewal

November 2010

1-3       Security VCF
1-5       Medical Care Provider
8-12    ECDIS
8-19    GMDSS
15-19   Basic Construction & Stability
15-17   Fast Rescue Boat
29        Radar Renewal

December 2010

6-10    Medical Care Provider
6-17     Medical Person-in-Charge
6-17     GMDSS
7-9      Security VCF
11         Med DOT
13-15   Emergency Shiphandling
20       Radar Renewal


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 9-24-10

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
10,622.42 2,381.22 1,148.67
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
51.99
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
105.71
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
35.82
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
18.23
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
16.07
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
23.70
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
11.00
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
28.40
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
5.67
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
16.02
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
20.66
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
14.08
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
18.77
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
11.69
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
12.03
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
11.99
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
12.25
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
12.67
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.84
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
28.51
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
16.11
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
14.66
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
16.37
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.73
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
64.37
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
61.28
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
16.63
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
40.06
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
28.40
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
24.77
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.14
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
11.83
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
13.09
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
13.12
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
12.91
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
7.44
 Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
8.65
 Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
11.04
 Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
33.26
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
40.84
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
26.98



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.

© 2010, 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.