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Wheelhouse Weekly – April 04, 2011

April 4th 2011

 

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

Volume 15 . . . . . Number 14. . . . April 4, 2011

STORIES COVERED

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


MM&P MEMBERS AND STAFF STAND UP FOR AMERICA’S WORKERS

MM&P members and staff are joining forces with hundreds of thousands of other workers in the United States and abroad to demonstrate April 4 in support of collective bargaining rights for public sector employees. The April 4 date was chosen to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated 43 years ago in Memphis, where he had gone to show support for striking sanitation workers.

Since the most recent spate of anti-public-sector-worker attacks began, MM&P members and staff have demonstrated in Washington, Baltimore and other cities to show their support for the nation’s embattled public sector workers. Among those now being targeted by anti-worker bills are the members of MM&P’s United Inland Group who work at Washington State Ferries.


HORIZON LINES FACES NEW PROBLEMS LINKED TO FINANCING, FUEL COSTS AND FREIGHT RATES

Horizon Lines CEO Stephen H. Fraser is seeking to reassure lenders, employees and clients that it will be business as usual despite the fact that the company has been unable to reach agreement with investors who hold a portion of its debt. Fraser said Horizon Lines’ newest challenges have been triggered by the fact that it has not been able to obtain a “default waiver” from note holders, as well as by increasing fuel costs and by a drop in freight rates in the transpacific.

The tension level rose last week after Horizon Lines filed a 10-K report with the Securities and Exchange Commission that includes a note from the auditors that reads in part: “These conditions and their impact on the company’s liquidity raise substantial doubt about Horizon Lines’ ability to continue as a going concern.”

“I want to assure you that the ‘going-concern’ disclosure is in no way an assessment of the quality or soundness of our underlying business,” Fraser said in a letter to stakeholders. “It does not mean the company is going out of business, nor should it impact the way that we do business with our customers or the way we interact with our associates. Rather, it reflects the challenges we face related to issues with our debt holders and the difficult current operating environment.”

A few weeks ago, the company reached a settlement with the Department of Justice on charges of price fixing in the Puerto Rico trade lanes. At the same time, a new leadership team assumed the helm at the company. “More work lies ahead, but I am confident that we will successfully navigate these challenging times,” Fraser said.

“The Masters, Mates & Pilots is encouraged by the recent statement by Horizon Lines CEO Stephen Fraser,” said MM&P International President Tim Brown. “MM&P’s desire is to have Horizon once again in a profitable condition and to continue the standard of excellence, in terms of sailing and delivery expectations, that Horizon Lines customers have become accustomed to over the years.”


BULK CARRIER MOKU PAHU HONORED BY U.S. AMBASSADOR TO EL SALVADOR

The bulk carrier MOKU PAHU, while discharging food aid in the Port of Acajutla, El Salvador, was honored by a visit from the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador andEl Salvador’s Minister of the Interior.  In a ceremony held aboard the vessel on March 24, the U.S. Ambassador formally presented the food aid gift from the United States to the people of El Salvador and saluted the officers and crew of the MOKU PAHU for their role in helping to strengthen the diplomatic ties between the two nations. MM&P members aboard the MOKU PAHU to welcome the prestigious group of visitors were Capt. Gerald W. Anderson, Chief Mate Christian Johnsen, Second Mate Bert D. Burris and Third Mate Peter T. Spencer.


EMISSIONS RULES FOR SHIPS CAN EXTEND BEYOND STATE JURISDICTION, COURT SAYS

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected an appeal to California air pollution regulations that require vessels to use low-sulfur fuel within 24 miles of the coast. Environmental scientists and public health officials say the regulations, which were implemented in 2009, will reduce sulfur emissions by 90 percent and will prevent nearly 100,000 cases of asthma and an estimated 3,500 premature deaths. In 2015, similar federal regulations will be imposed within the 200-mile economic zone around the United States. California’s regulations have been appealed in recent years by various shipper groups.


WISCONSIN GOVERNOR DEFIES COURT RULING, DECLARES ANTI-WORKER LAW NOW IN EFFECT

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans in the state legislature have implemented a measure that eliminates collective bargaining rights for most public employees. A restraining order issued by a circuit court judge had barred the law from being published–and thus taking effect–pending an investigation into whether it had been passed in violation of the state’s open meetings law. But Walker and his allies in the legislature arranged for it to be posted online, which they say means it is now law despite the judge’s order.

The brothers who head each house of the Wisconsin state legislature–Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald–both assert that the law is now in effect, that most public sector workers in the state can no longer bargain collectively and that the state is free to begin deducting significantly higher health care and pension contributions from their paychecks. The deductions would amount to an average 8 percent pay cut. Republican lawmakers rammed the measure through in March despite a boycott by Democratic state senators and weeks of massive protests that drew tens of thousands of people to the state Capitol.

Opponents immediately filed a series of lawsuits, one of which came before a Dane County Circuit Judge in late March. The judge ordered the state to put the law on hold while she considers a broader challenge to its legality. She chastised state officials for ignoring her earlier order to halt the law’s publication. “Apparently that language was either misunderstood or ignored, but what I said was that further implementation of (the law) was enjoined,” Dane County Judge Maryann Sumi said during a follow-up hearing. “That is what I now want to make crystal clear.”

“To ram through a bill attacking workers on the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire is a tragedy,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale, secretary-treasurer of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO. “Clearly Scott Walker wants to roll back worker rights to a time where Triangle-like conditions were rampant and will use any means necessary to achieve his agenda.” In the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, some workers died after finding a stairwell locked, others were victims of a collapsing fire escape, and some jumped from the building to escape the blaze.


STATE AND LOCAL WORKERS EARN SIGNIFICANTLY LESS THAN PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS, NEW STUDY FINDS

The wages and salaries of state and local employees are significantly lower than those of private sector workers with the same level of education. State employees typically earn 11 percent less than comparably educated private sector employees. Local government workers earn 12 percent less than their counterparts in the private sector. In addition, over the past 20 years, the earnings of state and local employees have generally declined relative to those of comparable private sector employees.

These are some of the findings of a recent report comparing public and private sector compensation over the course of the past two decades. It was written by two professors of economics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Keith A. Bender and John S. Heywood.

“The current recession and the resulting fiscal difficulties faced by state and local governments have renewed interest in the compensation of the public workforce in regard to pay, pensions, and other benefits,” they write. “Levels of compensation help determine both the competence and the efficiency of governmental services. Excessive levels waste resources…  Insufficient levels make it difficult, if not impossible, to attract workers of the quality needed to provide the services demanded by citizens. Comparability with the private sector is the most generally accepted standard by which economists and compensation specialists judge whether the processes for determining compensation in the public sector are working.”

The findings of the study, which was conducted using publicly available data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, include:

  • Jobs in the public sector require much more education on average than those in the private sector, which means that state and local government employees are twice as likely as their private sector counterparts to have a college level or advanced degree;
  • Wages and salaries of state and local employees are lower than those of private sector workers with comparable education; state employees typically earn 11 percent less; local workers earn 12 percent less;
  • Over the past 20 years, in most states, the earnings of state and local employees have declined relative to those of comparable private sector employees;
  • Benefits (pensions) comprise a greater share of employee compensation in the public sector;
  • State and local employees have lower total compensation (wages and benefits) than their private sector counterparts: on average, total compensation is 6.8 percent lower for state employees and 7.4 percent lower for local workers, compared with comparable private sector employees.

    “This recession calls for equal sacrifice, but long-term patterns indicate that the average compensation of state and local employees is not excessive,” the professors write. “Indeed, if the goal is to compensate public and private workforces in a comparable manner, then the data do not call for reductions in average state and local wages and benefits.”

    The April 2011 report, “Out of Balance? Comparing Public and Private Sector Compensation Over 20 Years,” was published by the National Institute on Retirement Security: http://tiny.cc/ro2gt.


    IN MAINE, VOICES RISE IN OPPOSITION TO ATTEMPT TO LOOSEN CHILD LABOR LAWS, ERASE LABOR HISTORY

    Maine has become the newest battleground in the fight to defend the rights of working Americans. Republican Gov. Paul LePage last month generated a flood of protests when he ordered that a mural depicting working people throughout Maine’s history be removed from a wall in the Department of Labor. Now, Republican members of the state legislature have introduced bills that would loosen child labor laws.

    The 36-foot-long mural used to be situated in the building’s reception area. LePage said he gave the order to remove it because it “sends a one-sided, anti-employer message.” The mural has 11 panels, depicting scenes such as the celebration of the first Labor Day and the 1987 papermakers strike in Jay, as well as labor reformers such as Frances Perkins, who was secretary of labor under Franklin D. Roosevelt. Removal of the mural is considered part and parcel of a wider attempt by politicians to further erode working conditions at a time when unemployment in Maine is at record levels.

    Under one bill pending in the state legislature, employers could pay anyone under the age of 20 as little as $5.25 an hour–30 percent less than the state minimum wage–for the first 180 days on the job. The bill also eliminates the maximum number of hours a minor 16 years of age or older can work on a school day and allows a minor under the age of 16 to work up to four hours on a school day during hours when school is not in session. The state senate is considering a bill that would allow 16- and 17-year-old students to work until 11:00 p.m. on school nights. The bill would also allow students to work for a total of 24 hours per week.


    INDIANA DEMOCRATS WIN CONCESSIONS

    Dozens of Indiana House Democrats who went to Illinois to prevent passage of a bill banning collective bargaining for state employees began returning last week after winning several concessions from Republican state representatives.

    Rep. Patrick Bauer, leader of the House Democrats, said the deal is not perfect but shows the Democrats’ actions–which brought the Indiana legislature to a standstill for weeks–were worth it. “Importantly, some legislation intended to eliminate unions, decrease wages and roll back workplace safety has been scuttled as Hoosiers from all corners of the state raised their voices,” said Nancy Guyott, president of the Indiana State AFL-CIO.

    “The principled stand by House Democrats forced concessions by the House Republicans that reflected the concerns expressed by so many people who came to the Statehouse in recent weeks,” Bauer said. “Today we can announce compromises that are great steps forward for working Hoosiers.” Highlights of the compromise:

    — Republicans agreed to scrap the controversial “right to work” for less law that led the Democrats to leave the state Feb. 22;

    — Republicans have pledged not to pass a law making permanent the state’s existing ban on collective bargaining for state workers, which was created by Gov. Mitch Daniels’ executive order.


    TIME TO TREAT PIRATES AS TERRORISTS

    The Asian Shippers’ Council (ASC) has proposed that the international community treat pirates as terrorists, strike pirate strongholds in coastal Somalia and use intelligence to investigate and disrupt the financial trails that lead to the Middle East, Europe, and other parts of Africa. “The international community had hoped to contain the problem through defensive measures, but as events in the recent years have shown, these measures have not been wholly effective,” the ASC said in an official statement. “While it may have prevented some from being hijacked, the problem has worsened, both in terms of frequency and in scope.”

    The industry group said its members believe that the long-term solution to Somalia’s problems lies in having a fully functioning government. They argue, however, that “more immediate measures are urgently needed to tilt the risks/rewards ratio, making piracy a risky rather than a rewarding proposition for young Somalis.”

    ASC called for navies to be given the right to detain suspect crews “if they have strong reason to believe that a ship is being used as a mother ship.” The council also said forces should target four Somali port towns considered pirate strongholds: Caluula, Eyl, Hobyo and Harardhere.


    INDIAN NAVY, COAST GUARD, BATTLE PIRATES IN ARABIAN SEA

    Officers of the Indian navy and coast guard last month disabled a mother ship, captured 16 Somali pirates and rescued 16 hostages after a three-hour battle in the Arabian Sea. The fight took place after pirates launched an attack on the U.K.-flagged MAERSK KENSINGTON using a previously hijacked vessel, the Iranian trawler MORTEZA, as a mother ship. The Indian naval and coast guard intervened after picking up distress signals from the cargo ship. In the ensuing battle, the MORTEZA caught fire. The pirates and their hostages were picked up from the sea by the navy ship.


    UNITED INLAND GROUP-PACIFIC MARITIME REGION MEETINGS

    The following dates, times and locations have been selected for UIG-PMR meetings in the Puget Sound region for the first half of 2011.

    Monday, April 11 – Edmonds Office: 1400-1600

    Tuesday, May 10 – Anacortes (site TBD: 1000-1200 and 1500-1700)

    Thursday, June 9 – Edmonds Office: 1000-1200


    SCHEDULE FOR 2011 D-BOOK MEMBERSHIP COURSE

    The Offshore Division Orientation Course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held at regular intervals throughout 2011.

    The schedule is as follows (but please note that course dates may change depending on the number of participants who sign up): June 10-11 and Oct. 21-22 at MM&P headquarters in Linthicum Heights; Oct. 13-14 in Los Angeles/Long Beach; and Nov. 8-9 in New Orleans.

    There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are urged to attend.

    If you want to attend the course, please RSVP to the local hiring hall where the class is offered or, in the case of a course planned for headquarters, to Mary Seidman at mseidman@bridgedeck.org.


    MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

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

    AB – Able Bodied Seaman: 4/18, 6/13
    AIS – Automatic Identification Systems: 5/12
    ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 5/16

    BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/9, 6/6
    BST – Basic Safety Training: 4/11, 6/27

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
    CMM-ADVWX � Advanced Meteorology: 6/12
    CMM-ADVSTB � Advanced Stability: 4/11, 6/27
    CMM-CHS I � Advanced Cargo Operations (week 1): 4/18
    CMM-CHS II � Advanced Cargo Operations (week 2): 4/25
    CMM-ECDIS � Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems: 5/23
    CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 6/13
    CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1): 5/2
    CMM-SHMGT II – Ship Management (week 2): 5/9
    CMM-SHS-ADV-I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/18, 5/16, 6/13
    CMM-SHS-ADV-I I � Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 4/25, 5/23, 6/20
    CMM-VPEN � Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 5/16
    CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 6/20

    CHS BAS � Basic Cargo Handing and Stowage: 4/11
    CNAV � Celestial Navigation: 5/2

    ENVIRO-Regs Permit � Environmental Regulations Permit: 5/24
    EP � Emergency Procedures: 4/27

    FF-BADV � Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 4/11, 6/27
    FSM � Fatique, Sleep and Medications for Pilots: 6/8

    HAZ � Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/13

    LAP-ORG 3rd � License Advancement Program for Original 3/Mate: 6/6

    LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 5/9, 6/6

    MEDIA-RSP � Media Response Workshop: 5/13
    MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 5/2, 6/13
    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 5/2, 6/13
    MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 5/7, 6/18

    MSC-CBRD1 � Basic Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense: 6/10
    MSC-DC � Damage Control: 6/6
    MSC -SMA � Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 6/6

    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 4/6, 4/13, 4/20, 5/11, 5/25, 6/16, 6/28
    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Day Class: 6/16
    ROP-5 � Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 5/2

    SAR � Search and Rescue: 4/25
    SEC-VCF � Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 5/9
    SHS-BAS � Basic Shiphandling: 4/18, 6/20
    SHS-EMR3 � Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots: 6/8
    SHS-EMR5 � Emergency Shiphandling: 5/2

    TPIC � Tankerman Person in Charge: 5/16

    …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

    April 2011

    11-13   Security VCF
    11-15   Basic Stability
    18-22  Medical Care Provider
    23rd    Medical DOT
    18-29  Medical Person-in-Charge
    25th    Radar Renewal
    25-29  Basic Meteorology

    May 2011

    2-13    Basic Watchkeeping
    16th    Radar Renewal
    16-20  Medical Care Provider
    16-27  Medical Person-In-Charge
    17-18   Environmental Regulations/VGP
    21st     Medical DOT
    23-25  Fast Rescue Boat
    23-27  ECDIS
    23-27  Management, Communication, and Leadership
    25th    Flashing Light

    June 2011

    2-3      Vessel Security Officer
    6-24    Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
    13-24  GMDSS
    20-22 Fast Rescue Boat
    20-24 ECDIS
    27-29  Emergency Procedures
    30-1    Search and Rescue


    MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 4-1-11

    D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
    12,376.72 2,789.60 1,332.41
    Fund Name & Trading Symbol
     Closing
    Price
     Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund (VAARX)
    57.99
     Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
    122.73
     Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
    45.01
     Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
    20.21
     Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
    19.19
     Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
    27.50
     Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
    10.73
     Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
    33.24
     Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
    5.81
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
    16.78
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
    23.21
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
    14.24
     Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
    20.37
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
    12.04
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
    12.89
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
    13.20
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
    13.80
     Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
    14.25
     Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
    10.54
     Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
    33.60
     Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
    18.71
     Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
    15.99
     Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
    19.27
     Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
    10.55
     Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
    75.88
     Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
    74.27
     Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
    19.52
     Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
    48.16
     Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
    31.43
     Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
    30.43
     Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
    11.50
     Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
    12.21
     Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
    14.11
     Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
    14.40
     Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
    14.48
     Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
    8.46
     Fidelity Freedom 2050 (FFFHX)
    9.94
     Fidelity Total Bond Fund (FTBFX)
    10.76
     Spartan Extended market Index Fund (FSEMX)
    41.42
     Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
    47.34
     Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
    31.73



    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.

    © 2011, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.




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