A Guide for New Members and Applicants
Thank you for your interest in joining the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P). MM&P is the professional home of many of the world’s best trained and most highly qualified ship’s officers.
Here in the Membership section of our website, you will find answers to questions about our union, the benefits of MM&P membership and how to join. To find answers to questions that are not addressed in this section, please contact your MM&P Area Vice President or the MM&P Membership Department.
About Masters, Mates & Pilots
MM&P is proud to represent: licensed deck officers on U.S.-flag commercial vessels sailing offshore, on the inland waterways and on civilian-crewed ships in the government fleet; state pilots; marine engineers; and maritime industry shore-side clerical and service workers.
The union is a dynamic advocate for its members and a voice in Washington, D.C., for the domestic maritime industry and America’s Merchant Marine.
MM&P has joined forces with four other maritime unions in the Maritime Labor Alliance. Our four partner unions in the alliance are: the American Radio Association (ARA); the Inlandboatmen’s Union (IBU); the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (LWU); and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA).
For more information on MM&P and its history, go to the MM&P Overview section of our website.
Benefits of MM&P Membership
There are numerous benefits to union membership in general, and to membership in the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots in particular. The benefits of MM&P membership include:
- Union representation in contract negotiations and grievance resolution.
- A collective voice in dealing with management and determining working conditions.
- Access to first-class union health benefits.
- Opportunities to attend the MM&P training institutes, MITAGS/PMI, on the East and West coasts.
- Membership in a democratic union of professional mariners.
- Political representation through the union’s advocacy arm, MIRAID, which operates in Washington, D.C., on behalf of the U.S.-flag shipping industry, America’s merchant mariners and working families.
- Access for members (and their families) to the MM&P Federal Credit Union, which offers free checking, free bill pay, conveniently priced loans and other services.
- Financial and other benefits offered to union members by the Union Plus program.
- A subscription to The Master, Mate & Pilot, the MM&P member magazine.
- A subscription to The Wheelhouse Weekly, the MM&P electronic newsletter.
- Access to the Members’ Only section of www.bridgedeck.org.
MM&P Offshore Membership Group
MM&P vessels sail in the coastal trade between continental U.S. ports and Puerto Rico, Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. territories, as well as on international routes. Photos of some of the ships under MM&P Offshore contract can be viewed in our Photo Gallery.
There are 14 MM&P Offshore Halls nationwide. We share some of our union halls with the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA).
The Offshore Membership Group holds regular monthly meetings. The meetings are announced in the union’s electronic newsletter The Wheelhouse Weekly. To receive The Wheelhouse Weekly free of charge, click here.
As per the MM&P International Constitution, the Offshore Membership Group operates under the auspices of the five-member Offshore Advisory Committee (OAC). The members of the OAC include the three Offshore Area Vice Presidents (Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific); the International President and the International Secretary-Treasurer. The OAC meets four times a year, usually at MM&P Headquarters.
For more information or to join, visit the Offshore Membership page.
MM&P Associate Membership Group
Most MM&P associate members are students at U.S. maritime academies. However, this category of membership is open to all individuals, approved by the MM&P General Executive Board, who are not represented by MM&P for collective bargaining purposes. Associate members receive the union’s magazine, The Master, Mate & Pilot. Associate members are also eligible for all benefits offered to union members through the Union Plus program. Associate members do not receive health or pension benefits and are not eligible to vote in union elections or hold elected office. For more information on the Associate Membership Group, click here.
Click here to fill out and print the MM&P Associate Membership Form for Cadets
Click here to fill out and print the MM&P Associate Membership Form for non-Cadets
For any additional questions, please contact:
Patrice Wooten, Membership Department Administrator
Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P)
410-850-8700 ext. 111
MM&P’s Offshore Group Hiring Hall Process
MM&P uses a hiring hall process whereby you register to ship and bid your dated national shipping card for a particular job. Certain jobs require specific training or a specific level of license. To find out more, contact your MM&P Area Vice President. The oldest dated card with the highest status has the opportunity to acquire the job first. If a Class A/1 member does not bid on the job, bidding continues until an applicant has a chance to bid on the job if he/she is qualified.
To sail in a professional capacity aboard any U.S.-flag vessel, you must have a valid Transportation Workers Identification Card (TWIC). The TWIC card is issued by the Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration. To apply for a TWIC, go to the Department of Homeland Security’s official website.
Please keep in mind that training requirements must be met for every job. This includes members transferring to the Licensed Offshore Group, who must comply with STCW-95 requirements. An A-book or B-book member with an older card who does not meet the training requirements for that rating can lose the job to a lower book member or an applicant who does have the required training.
Also, please refer to your copy of the shipping rules (also posted in the Members’ Only section of www.bridgedeck.org) to determine the exact time of job call in the port you are shipping out of. Your shipping card is a national shipping card and is valid for use in any of the hiring halls. The applicant’s card is valid for two years from the date of issue. The member’s shipping card is valid for one year from the date of issue.
All Offshore registration shipping cards are valid for shipping in any of the ports where the organization maintains a union hall. Port Relief Officer (PRO) cards are valid only in the registered port. You cannot be registered simultaneously in more than one port.
MM&P United Inland Group
MM&P’s United Inland Membership Group includes: the Pacific Maritime Region (PMR) and the Great Lakes & Gulf Maritime Region (GL&G).
Members of the PMR sail aboard harbor and ocean tugboats and passenger ferries along the entire West Coast, from Alaska to California.
PMR members in the towing industry work with some of the newest equipment on the water. PMR is well-known on San Francisco Bay for its tractor tugs. Other PMR members crew passenger ferries, such as high-speed commuter vessels and excursion boats.
Members of MM&P’s Pacific Maritime Region work in the wheelhouse of the vessels that belong to the Washington State Ferry System, the largest in the United States. PMR licensed deck officers also helm the ferries in the Alaska Marine Highway System.
The GL&G, which is based in Cleveland, includes mariners with limited licenses as well as unlicensed personnel.
In addition to Cleveland, the group has an office in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where MM&P members crew tugboats in San Juan Harbor for McAllister Towing and Transportation Co.
And when you visit MM&P’s Maritime Institute training facility in Linthicum Heights, Md., you will find members of the Great Lakes & Gulf Maritime Region doing shore-side duty in the residence halls and the dining room.
The members of the United Inland Membership Group are represented by the UIG Vice President and a group of Regional Representatives based at five union halls.
For more information, visit the United Inland Group page.
MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group
Members of MM&P’s Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG) sail on vessels operated by Military Sealift Command, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) employs MM&P members who are civil service pilots at naval bases around the globe.
Members of the FEMG are represented by the FEMG Vice President as well as by the MM&P Government Fleet Representative.
For more information, visit the Federal Employees Membership Group page.
MM&P Pilot Membership Group
The MM&P Pilot Membership Group represents 98 percent of all state-licensed pilots on ships engaged in international trade entering and leaving U.S. ports.
Pilots participate in the MM&P health plan and take advantage of the world-class training facilities at the Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies (MITAGS). Members of this group are licensed as pilots by a state authority as well as by the U.S. Coast Guard.
For more information, visit the Pilot Membership Group page.
MM&P Elected Officials and Governance
All MM&P members vote to elect the International President and the International Secretary-Treasurer. Members of each of the four Membership Groups elect their own Vice Presidents. All MM&P officers serve four-year terms.
The elected officers make up the Union’s governing body, the General Executive Board (GEB). The GEB meets at least four times a year. Members elect delegates to represent them at union conventions held every two years.
Regular membership meetings of all categories of members are held monthly in at least one port on each coast. These meetings are held after job call during the week in which the second Wednesday of the month occurs. Regular membership meetings are held in all other ports at least once every four months.
MM&P Benefit Plans
The MM&P Plan Office is located at MM&P Headquarters in Linthicum Heights. The benefits for which each member is eligible depend on the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that exists between the union and each company.
MM&P Health Benefit Plan benefits may include:
- Prescription drugs
- Annual physical examination
- Vision care
- Dental care
- Death and AD&D
- Long-term disability
- Insurance for wage payments
- License insurance
- Coast Guard legal aid
Benefits under MM&P Retirement Plans may include:
- Defined contribution retirement plan paid for by the employer pre-tax and Roth
- 401(k) paid for by the employee (pre-tax or Roth)
- Defined benefit plan (pension plan) and/or
- Adjustable pension plan.
For more information, please visit the MM&P Plans page.
MIRAID: Your Voice in Washington, D.C.
The survival and growth of the U.S.-flag merchant marine and the future economic well-being of our members depend on actions taken in Washington, D.C.
The Maritime Institute for Research and Industrial Development (MIRAID) is MM&P’s Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization. MIRAID is a dynamic voice for every member of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots and for all U.S.-flag shipping companies that have collective bargaining agreements with MM&P.
MIRAID drafts legislation, testifies before Congressional committees and works to encourage Congress to act in support of the U.S.-flagged, U.S.-crewed Merchant Marine.
The MM&P Political Contribution Fund
Voluntary contributions to the Political Contribution Fund by MM&P members, employees and their families help support the election of legislators who are committed to a strong, vibrant American Merchant Marine. PCF contributions can be made by check in the union halls, through automatic deduction from vacation pay or pensions, or online using a credit card.
Offshore Membership Point System
Time accumulated aboard MM&P Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) vessels as an applicant, as verified by USCG discharges, is used to determine your book status on being admitted to membership. If you are transferring into the Offshore Membership Group, sea time accumulated in a different membership group cannot be applied to book advancement. To advance to the next book status, membership points and days at sea on MM&P Offshore-contracted vessels are tabulated. To find out more about the point system, contact your MM&P Area Vice President.
Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS)/ Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI) Eligibility
Under each specific CBA, the company you are sailing for makes contributions to the MATES Program to allow you to attend classes at MITAGS/PMI.
Eligibility to attend MITAGS/PMI is calculated by taking your last day of covered eligibility, going to the end of that calendar month and adding six calendar months. A member or applicant can take up to four weeks of courses at MITAGS/PMI in this time frame as long as he or she begins the first course prior to the expiration of health benefit eligibility.
Transportation to and from MITAGS/PMI is also dependent on the CBA between the union and the company the member sailed with.
To be in good standing, a member must have paid dues for the current quarter and assessments and other indebtedness due to the organization, including any fees for late payment of dues. If at sea, applicants or book members, within 72 hours after returning to a U.S. port (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays excepted), must pay all indebtedness to the organization incurred during the time he/she was on the foreign voyage when he/she was unable to put himself/herself in good standing (see the MM&P International Constitution for more details).
Except where a valid dues check-off is in effect, an applicant or book member who is not paid up in assessments, dues and other indebtedness for the current quarter before the first working day of such quarter is in arrears and shall lose good standing until all financial obligations to the organization are met and he/she shall not be entitled to any benefits of the organization.
A late fee of $5 per day shall be levied for each day a member or applicant on any shipping list is in arrears in dues, assessments or any other indebtedness. This late fee shall be payable before the member or applicant can bid, ship or clear for an assignment and shall be payable regardless, whether the individual re-registers or not. Members or applicants who become more than 30 days in arrears in dues, assessments or other indebtedness to the union, shall have the option of:
- paying an unlimited late fee of $5/day and having their Shipping Card advanced 30 days or
- re-registering for shipping as a new registrant and paying $150 in late fees.
An applicant or book member, upon completion of an assignment of employment, must register within 15 days on one of the Offshore shipping lists. A late fee of $5 per day shall be levied for each day an applicant or book member is late registering after 15 days, up to a maximum of $75. An applicant or book member who is in arrears for 12 months or more in dues, assessments, or other indebtedness shall automatically be suspended from MM&P.
A check or money order for current quarter’s dues, plus an amount equal to 10% of the current initiation fee, is payable at the time application to MM&P is made.
If an applicant elects to pay 10% of the initiation fee in lieu of paying the initiation fee in full, authorization will be made by completing the appropriate form allowing the union to deduct 25% or more, if the applicant so chooses, from his/her vacation pay to pay off the remaining balance of the initiation fee. An applicant will not be considered for membership until the remaining initiation fee balance is paid in full. It is required that the entire initiation fee be paid within 360 days of working (shipping aboard MM&P contracted vessels and PRO work).
At the time application is made, a copy of the organization’s International Constitution, Work Rules, and Shipping Rules will be made available to the applicant.
Upon completion of all forms, payment of quarterly dues, and payment of 10% of initiation fee, the applicant may register for shipping.
Applicants and book members are eligible for employment as a PRO through the organization’s hiring halls between periods of offshore seagoing employment. You must be registered on the Offshore list in order to register on the PRO List. Your PRO card is valid only for the port registered in.
You can view a national shipping list, or a shipping list for any port, at any MM&P hiring hall. The shipping list can also be viewed by logging into the Members’ Only portion of www.bridgedeck.org.
Sailing Aboard Non-MM&P-Contracted Vessels
Applicants are not restricted from working on board non-MM&P contracted vessels, but by doing so they may incur penalties. These penalties may include, but are not limited to: loss of health benefits, adjustment of shipping card date and/or loss of eligibility to attend MITAGS/PMI. Please read the International Constitution Article 3 regarding members sailing aboard non-MM&P contracted vessels. Also, please read the note below from the health and benefit rules and regulations.
Article 111, Eligibility of MM&P Health and Benefit Rules and Regulations
TERMINATION OF ELIGIBILITY:
7. The date he accepts employment with an employer operating vessels who is not a party to this Health & Benefit Plan or to any affiliated plans, except upon the approval of the trustees after application has been submitted through the organization, or such employment has been obtained through the offices of the organization and benefit plan contributions attributable to such employment are received by the plan either directly from the employer or passed through to the plan by virtue of an agreement acceptable to the organization.
Initial Eligibility for Health Coverage
To establish eligibility you need 30 days of shipboard employment on an MM&P contracted vessel. Your coverage under the MM&P Health and Benefit Plan starts after you complete 30 days of shipboard covered employment (excluding vacation, disability and PRO days) within any period of six consecutive calendar months with one or more contributing employers. However, if you sign on a vessel before you become eligible for benefits and you then go to sea on a foreign voyage expected to last more than 30 days, you become eligible on the day you go to sea.
Once you meet the initial eligibility requirements, your coverage continues provided that you complete at least 30 days of covered employment with one or more contributing employers during any period of six consecutive calendar months and you continue to make your co-pay contributions.
Covered Employment for Continued Eligibility includes shipboard employment and days of vacation, as well as PRO time.
PRO time can be used to extend health eligibility up to six months (40 hours PRO = one month extension) once 30 days of shipboard employment have been established and the PRO time is earned during the Health Eligibility Period. You may extend your health eligibility to include vacation and PRO time, depending on the CBA between the union and the company you sailed with.
Covered Employment: Employment for which an employer contributes to the benefit plans specified in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Collective Bargaining Agreement: Agreement between MM&P and the company, and ratified by MM&P members, which covers wages, benefits and working conditions. MM&P is a democratic union, which means that members have a voice in accepting or rejecting the contract and giving guidance to our leadership as to what they want and need.
General Executive Board: The GEB is made up of the two International MM&P officers (President and Secretary-Treasurer), the three Vice Presidents for the Offshore Membership Group and the Vice Presidents for the Federal Employees Membership Group, the Pilot Membership Group and the United Inland Membership Group. The GEB makes decisions that affect all membership groups.
MATES: The Maritime Advancement Training Education and Safety program is the trust fund under which the MITAGS/PMI training facilities operate and train MM&P members.
MIRAID: Maritime Institute for Research and Industrial Development, MM&P’s Washington, D.C.,-based lobbying group.
MITAGS: Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies, MM&P’s simulation and training facility in Linthicum Heights, MD.
Offshore Advisory Committee: The OAC is made up of the two MM&P International officers (President and Secretary-Treasurer) and the three Offshore Vice Presidents. The OAC governs the course of the Offshore Membership Group with approval of the General Executive Board (GEB).
MM&P Political Contribution Fund (PCF): Supports the election of members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who are in favor of maritime legislation that would positively affect the livelihood of our members. All contributions to the PCF are voluntary and are not tax-deductible.
Pacific Maritime Institute (PMI): The West Coast branch of MITAGS, is located in Seattle.
Port Relief Officer (PRO): Relieves the watch officer for an eight-hour period while the vessel is in port and performs cargo operations, care and security of the vessel and crew. PRO time can be used to extend health coverage up to six months (40 hours PRO = one month extension) after 30 days of shipboard employment have been established, and the PRO time has been earned during the Health Eligibility Period.
To find out more about joining MM&P, click here.