News

Wheelhouse Weekly – April 09, 2007

April 9th 2007

 

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

Volume 11 . . . . . Number 14. . . .April 9, 2007

STORIES COVERED

Also

REMINDERS

T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services




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


HORIZON EAGLE ENTERS SERVICE TOMORROW

Good news in the Port of Tacoma: MM&P Pacific Ports Vice President Don Marcus is pleased to report that the latest additions to the MM&P fleet made their first U.S. port calls after safe and efficient voyages from the Far East. On March 30-31, the MV HORIZON HAWK called in the Port of Tacoma, the first of five new Horizon Lines vessels to enter the Tacoma, Oakland, Honolulu, Guam and Far East service. MM&P Licensed Deck Officers Captain Mike Smith (Master), Tom McDorr (Chief Mate), Craig Spence (Second Mate) and Mike Christle (Third Mate) were joined in Tacoma by Captain Tom McKay, and relieving and observing Chief Mates Norbert Chaudhary and Jim Baldwin.

Last weekend, on April 6-7, the second of Horizon’s five new vessels, the MV HORIZON HUNTER arrived in Tacoma. MM&P Licensed Deck Officers Captain Donald Moir, Chief Mate Greg Gretz, Second Mate John Linskey and Third Mate Keith Lawrence brought the HORIZON HUNTER into Tacoma and are now en route to Oakland.

MM&P extends congratulations to the officers and crew of these two vessels for their outstanding efforts and best wishes to Horizon Lines for commercial success.

The HORIZON EAGLE, the third of the five new Hunter-class containerships to join the Horizon Lines fleet, will enter service April 10. It joins the HORIZON HUNTER and the HORIZON HAWK. Horizon chartered the five U.S.-flag vessels for 12-year terms. The remaining two vessels, the HORIZON FALCON and the HORIZON TIGER, are slated to enter service before the end of May. All five 2,824 TEU vessels are crewed by MM&P licensed deck officers. 


SENATE COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE STATUS OF TWIC PROGRAM

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has scheduled a hearing April 12 to receive testimony on the status of the technology and process relating to the issuance of Transportation Worker Identification (TWIC) cards. The members of the committee are especially interested in learning more about the practical effects the current TWIC regulations will have on merchant mariners, longshoremen and other maritime workers.

MM&P has been asked to present testimony at the hearing on behalf of maritime labor. Mike Rodriguez, executive assistant to MM&P International President Tim Brown, will make the presentation. He will be joined by MM&P Pilot Membership Group Vice President George Quick.

“We continue to have concerns over the way the TWIC program is going,”  Rodriguez says. “We think the right approach is to start with a simple ID card and build on that. Instead, the Transportation Security Administration is trying to design a system that does everything. Some of the technology that would be required has not even been developed yet.”

 MM&P has submitted its official comments on the TWIC program to government dockets and participated in groups tasked with developing the program.
A copy of MM&P’s statement to the Senate Commerce Committee will be posted at www.bridgedeck.org after the hearing takes place.


 

ATTEMPT TO AMEND IMO CONVENTION TO REQUIRE SEAFARERS TO HAVE VISAS IS BEATEN BACK

Maritime labor pushed back an attempt by some European Union (EU) countries and the United States to add “information on crewmembers’ visas” to the material local authorities could request from arriving ships. MM&P is among the labor unions working tirelessly to defeat this proposal along with similar attempts to limit seafarers’ right to shore leave, a right which is guaranteed by international treaties. Shore leave, the unions argue, is also a question of human rights.

At the March meetings of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, the unions found themselves in agreement on this particular issue with cruise line companies. The cruise lines are concerned that if such an amendment to the IMO Convention succeeds, it will be applied to passengers on cruise ships.
The controversial amendment, which was proposed by the Netherlands, would have allowed port authorities to request information on crewmembers’ visas for the arrival, stay and departure of a ship. It was submitted to the Committee on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL). 

Unions argued such an amendment would run counter to the spirit of the Convention and would violate other international rules protecting seafarers’ rights.

At the March meetings, MM&P was part of the delegation of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). The IMO is an intergovernmental organization composed of member governments. Non-governmental  organizations such as the ICFTU participate in the debates but do not have a vote with the member governments in the final determination of the issues.

John Bainbridge of the International Transportation Workers Federation and Bill Eglinton of the Seafarers International Union represented the ICFTU delegation in the meetings on the visa question. The committee ultimately voted overwhelmingly to reject the visa requirement, an outcome with which the United States and the European Union expressed displeasure.

At the working group meeting, Bainbridge presented the unions’ position that such an amendment:

  • would stand in contradiction to the FAL convention because it would hinder trade rather than facilitate it;
  • would be in violation of  International Labor Organization (ILO­) Convention 185, which establishes international standards for seafarers’ identity documents that are intended to be accepted worldwide;
  • would send the wrong political message: in essence, that a requirement that seafarers have visas is acceptable to the world shipping community;
  • would be detrimental to efforts to recruit and retain qualified seafarers since it would restrict access to shore leave and the ability of support organizations to come aboard ships.

As things now stand, crewmembers are generally allowed ashore after formalities with customs and immigration officials. Since 9/11, the U.S. State Department requires visas and so do some other countries, many in retaliation to the new U.S. position.

MM&P was represented at the meeting by Mike Rodriguez, executive assistant to MM&P International President Tim Brown. Rodriguez participated in a working group that drafted guidance for member states toward implementing the World Customs Organization’s (WCO) SAFE Framework and Authorized Economic Operator Guidelines (SAFE Framework). The SAFE Framework is a set of principles that national customs agencies and players in the global supply chain must follow to have their cargo treated as secure and processed more quickly for shipment. The working group also began to consider drafting guidance on how governments could cooperate to handle terrorist incidents with an eye toward protecting seafarers from being detained unnecessarily and moving cargoes known to be secure.



ANOTHER HONOR FOR MM&P-CREWED USNS JOHN ERICSSON

Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS JOHN ERICSSON has been honored once again for excellence in environmental stewardship: the ERICSSON and its crew will receive the Secretary of the Navy’s Environmental Quality Small Ship Award for fiscal year 2006. In February, the vessel was recognized for its environmental program by the Chief of Naval Operations. “The true significance of this award is that it recognizes the enormous efforts required by all licensed officers to meet the stringent shipboard environmental standards of today,” said Capt. Robert T. Wiley, the ship’s civil service master.

The vessel is crewed by 81 civil service mariners and 23 active duty Navy sailors. The awards have been given for the crew’s work in preventing pollution, ensuring readiness in responding to environmental issues, conserving resources and complying with environmental regulations.

The award from the Secretary of the Navy will be presented at a ceremony in June in Washington, D.C. The ERICSSON and its crew are contenders for the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards, which will be announced later this year.


MASSACHUSETTS SENATE BILL WOULD GIVE DISTRICT ONE COMMISSIONERS AUTHORITY TO LICENSE DOCKING PILOTS

A bill introduced in the Massachusetts Senate would give the District One Pilot Commissioners, the body which traditionally oversees the Boston Pilots Association, jurisdiction over local docking pilots. Under the terms of Massachusetts Senate Bill 1349, the commissioners would have the authority to license docking pilots. The bill would require U.S.-flag and foreign vessels of 350 gross tons or more that request tugboat assistance in docking or undocking to employ the services of a docking master licensed by the commissioners.

Many believe the primary beneficiaries of the legislation would be existing Boston tugboat companies, since the law would allow them to control the availability of docking pilots to new tugboat companies seeking to compete with them for ship assist work.

Minimum requirements for a docking master’s license would be a U.S. Coast Guard-issued master of towing vessels license with an endorsement as first class pilot of vessels of any gross tonnage for Pilot District One. Successful applicants would have to have provided docking pilot services during the 36 months immediately prior to the date on which the bill became law. Under the terms of the bill, the commissioners would not have authority to regulate the contractual relationships between docking pilots and tugboat companies. They would also not have authority over docking pilots’ rates, pensions, benefits or other compensation.


HEARINGS ON PILOT RATE INCREASE CONTINUE IN GALVESTON

Another hearing on the rate increase proposed by the Galveston-Texas City pilots has been scheduled for today. An attempt to resolve the issue through non-binding mediation between the pilots and industry trade associations failed, with the industry groups taking a strong position in opposition to an increase. The pilots are seeking a 27 percent increase, the first since 2000, to cover COLA and the rapidly increasing costs of fuel and insurance as well as the construction of two new pilot boats.


BELATED THANK YOU UPDATE

The list of supporters of HR 23, the “Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act of 2007,” continues to grow at a rapid pace and now totals 84 cosponsors. The newest additions to the list are Reps. Dan Boren (D-Okla.), Alan Boyd (D-Fla.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Ron Klein (D-Fla.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), John Mica (R-Fla.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Diane Watson (D-Calif.).

As previously reported, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, chaired by Congressman Bob Filner (D-Calif.), chief sponsor of HR 23, is holding a hearing on April 18 to receive testimony on this important and long-overdue legislation. MM&P, along with the other seafaring unions, will once again be submitting a statement in strong support of the enactment of HR 23. For updates on the status of HR 23, visit the U.S. Congress Web site: http://thomas.loc.gov/


HOUSE COMMITTEE VOTES TO QUASH CONTROVERSIAL PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM AT DHS

The House Homeland Security Committee has approved a measure that would repeal a controversial set of personnel management changes being implemented by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The measure, which was put forth as an amendment to an appropriations bill by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), was approved by a 17-13 vote. The new DHS personnel system “effectively guts employee due process rights and put in serious jeopardy the agency’s ability to retain a workforce capable of accomplishing its critical missions,” Lee said. Some sections of the DHS program had already been overturned last summer by an appeals court.

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. 


FAREWELL SS ARGONAUT

The master of the SS ARGONAUT writes that the vessel has set forth on her final voyage. “As a commercial enterprise and a community of seamen, it will shortly cease to exist,” writes Captain Bruno Ravalico. “The bulkheads and decks that have traveled the world’s oceans for so long will soon be holding up Chinese buildings.” The ARGONAUT has been an MM&P-contracted ship since 1979, when she sailed under the Farrell Lines banner.


DRUG TEST COLLECTOR TRAINING IN PACIFIC PORTS FOR MASTERS AND CHIEF MATES

The drug test collector training required by the Department of Transportation will be offered: April 30 in the Ports of Los Angeles/Long Beach; May 2 in San Francisco; and May 4 in Seattle. This one-day training course should be completed by all members sailing as Master and Chief Mate. You must retrain if you have not taken the course within the past five years. There are a limited number of spaces available for this course.  Please contact the respective union hall to sign up.



GATORS RETAKE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

With an 84-75 victory over Ohio State, the Florida Gators made NCAA history last Monday by bringing home their second national championship trophy. The Gators became the first team to go back-to-back since Duke in 1992 and the first ever to repeat with the same starting five.


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

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

Openings are available in our Spring and Summer Small Arms Original and Renewal Courses.  See dates below.


ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 6/5
AZIPOD-KAM-2 – Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 6/2

BRM Bridge Resource Management: 4/23, 5/28
BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/2
BST – Basic Safety Training: 6/4

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 4/23, 6/25
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 4/16
CMM-ECDIS � Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 4/30
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 5/21
CMM-SHMGT-I � Ship Management I (week 1): 4/30
Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 4/30, 5/14, 6/25
Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/7, 5/21, 6/25
CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 5/14

CONT-PLNG � Contingency Planning: 5/18

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 6/4

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 4/16, 6/11

LAP � License Advancement Program: 5/28
MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 5/17

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 4/21, 5/19, 6/16
MED-PIC � Medical Person-In-Charge: 5/14, 5/20, 6/11
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/16, 5/14, 6/11

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 5/24, 6/28
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 4/23, 5/22, 6/26
Available on a Stand-By Basis Only: MSC-SMA � Small Arms: 4/30, 5/21, 6/25
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 5/4, 5/25, 6/29 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 5/14
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 4/30, 6/4

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 5/14
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 4/23, 5/28
SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 4/30, 6/4, 6/18

TPIC � Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 6/4

Check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions. For class availability or info on MITAGS courses and programs, contact admissions toll-free at 866-656-5568 or Email: admissions@mitags.org.


PMI ACADEMIC NOTES

Spring – Fall 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)

April 2007
10-13  LFBT
16th  RADAR RENEWAL
16-27 WKP BAS
16-4 TCNAV/CO BEGIN APRIL ’07 AB TO MATE PROGRAM
23-25 BRM
24-27 LFBT
30-4 AB
30-4 FF ADV
30-4 SHS BAS

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

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

July 2007
9th      FL
9-13    ARPA
9-13    BST
10th    RADAR RENEWAL
10-11  SIM ASSESS
10-13  LFBT
16-20 AB
16-20 MED PRO
16-20 ENAV
23rd    RADAR RENEWAL
23-27  SHS BAS
23-3    CNAV
30-3   ARPA
30-3   MED PRO
30-10 MED PIC

August 2007
6-7      SAR
6-10    BST
7-10    LFBT
8-10    EP
14-17  LFBT
13-17  AB
13-17  CONSTB
13-17  SHS EM5
13-17  ECDIS
13-17  TPIC
20-24 AB
20-31 SHS ADV
20-24 CHS BAS
27-31  BAFF
27-31  ENAV
27-31  MED PRO
27-8    GMDSS
27-29  CSO/SSO

September 2007
4-7      LFBT
4-8      WX BAS
4-8      TCNAV
10th    RADAR RENEWAL
10-14  BST
10-14  AB
10-14  MED PRO
10-14  TCNAV
10-14  SHS BAS
17-21  MED PRO
17-21  ARPA
17-21  SHS BAS
17-21  TCNAV
17-28  GMDSS
19-21  AFF
24-5    WKP
24-28 ROP
26-28 AFF

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 4-5-2007

 

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
12,560.20 2,471.34 1,443.76
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
133.01
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
40.98
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
25.16
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
19.63
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
35.90
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.21
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
6.25
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.00
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
19.52
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.50
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
31.43
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
93.28
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
21.68
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
85.86
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
51.10
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
34.25

.






~ Reminders ~





 

T-AGS OCEANOGRAPHIC SURVEY SHIPS MANNING REQUIREMENTS

REQUIRED COURSEWORK

All MM&P members are reminded that to sail aboard the T-AGS ships that MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines will be operating, you must have the required training certification and your certificates must be current in accordance with Military Sealift Command requirements. Members are also required to have had a MSC pre-employment physical and to possess Ship Security Clearance (see below).

The MSC Contract calls for all training certificates required for manning of these vessels to be no older than 5 years and that all STCW-95 courses be renewed every 5 years, or annually, as applicable.

Five-year renewable courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Advanced Fire Fighting
  • Basic Safety Training, and
  • Damage Control

Small Arms certificates must be less than 1 year old and MUST NOT expire during your tour of duty.

Members interested in applying for one of the positions onboard the T-AGS vessels are advised to make sure your certificates are up to date. If not, contact Mary Matlock or Diane Ford at MITAGS Admissions, email: admissions@mitags.org, and schedule to take the course(s) needed.

Those MM&P members interested in obtaining more information and facts about the T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels are asked to email the Director of Special Projects requesting the “facts sheet”. It will be provided by return email in an Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Members interested in employment on the T-AGS ships are asked to provide a 1-2 page resume. Please list the desired position you are seeking along with the certificates of training you possess and their dates. Upon receipt it will be forwarded to Horizon Lines and a confirmation sent back to the member. Vessel turnover commenced Oct.17, 2004. Positions for all ratings remain open.

The point of contact for sending a resume for employment on the Horizon Lines T-AGS Oceanographic Vessels is Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects. Send resumes in an email or as a Word file attachment to him at: rplant@bridgedeck.org, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

IOMM&P
700 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090



SHIP SECURITY CLEARANCE NEEDED

Members who want to sail for Horizon Lines on the T-AGS Oceanographic Survey vessels the company is set to begin operating for MSC must have Ship Security Clearance before going aboard.

Special software must be downloaded from the US Government’s Defense Security Service to complete the Security Clearance application. You must have an Internet connection and a Windows-based computer to retrieve the application and run the program.

Go to https://sclient.dss.mil/download/w9xfull.htm to download the software titled “EPSQ SUBJECT2_2”.

After the software is installed and the program is launched, select “Create” from the menu bar at the top of the screen. You will be required to enter your Social Security Number and a case-sensitive password. A window titled “Type of Form” will appear.

All Deck Officers should select the first button titled “Request for Security Clearance (SF86)” and then click “OK” to go to the next screen, “Type of Investigation”.

From the “Type of Investigation” screen:

  • Masters and Radio Officers should select the first button, “Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI)”.
  • All other Deck Officers (C/M, 2/M, 3/M) should click on the second button, “National Agency Check (NAC or NACLC)”.

After selecting the appropriate investigation type, click on “OK” to begin filling in the forms.



MSC PHYSICALS

Horizon Lines requests all mariners seeking employment aboard the T-AGS Oceanographic vessels to take their MSC Physical at specially-designated facilities only after being advised to do so by the Company. This is to assure that all requirements of the MSC Physical are properly met.


MM&P FCU NEWS

GET NEW WHEELS OR LOWER EXISTING PAYMENTS WITH MM&P FCU VEHICLE FINANCING

Is it time to replace that car you’re driving? Vehicle loan rates are looking great at MM&P FCU.

Drive away in a new or used vehicle for a standard loan rate of:

4.75 percent for terms up to 24 months.
Standard loan rates for longer-term loans are:

5.00 percent for 25-48 months;
5.75 percent for 49-60 months ($20,000 minimum); and
6.25 percent for terms extending from 61-72 months ($25,000 minimum).
You can lower your loan rate even more — by 0.75 percent — by becoming a Preferred Borrower.

Are you paying a higher rate on your current vehicle loan at another institution? Consider refinancing your outside loan at the MM&P FCU and taking advantage of our lower loan rates.

MM&P FCU will finance up to 100 percent of your new vehicle loan, and up to 90 percent of NADA Book Value on a used vehicle. Maximum vehicle loan amount is $30,000.

PREFERRED BORROWERS GET LOWER LOAN RATES
MM&P FCU members can reduce the interest rate they pay on any new loan even further by becoming a preferred borrower. What is a preferred borrower? That’s a member who deposits at least 10 percent of the original loan amount into their MM&P FCU savings account and keeps those funds on deposit until the loan is paid in full. By doing this you save twice – first, your deposit works for you by earning our regular dividend savings rate, and second, you save money by reducing the interest rate on your loan by 0.75 percent.

Contact the MM&P FCU for full details on all loan programs by email to mmpfcu@bridgedeck.org or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.



 

MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN NEWS

NOTICE TO MEMBERS WHO ARE TAKING VIOXX

On Sept.30, Merck & Co. voluntarily withdrew Vioxx, a popular anti-inflammatory medication, from the market. As a result, individuals who are currently taking the drug have been asked to contact their health care professionals to discuss discontinuing use of Vioxx and possible alternative treatments.

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports that, “We have gotten a number of calls from members who want to know what to do with their remaining supply of Vioxx and whether the Plan or NMHC will refund their co-pay for the unused portion.

“Unfortunately, neither NMHC nor the Plan was aware of the Merck decision prior to the public announcement on Sept.30. As of that date, all deliveries of Vioxx to our members was suspended in accordance with Merck’s announcement. Orders that had already been processed and were in transit could not be stopped.

“In regard to refunds, Merck has set up a website at www.vioxx.com where members can obtain information on how to recover refunds from Merck for the unused portion of medication. Members can also call following toll free number for information: 1-888-368-4699.

“We are sorry for any inc onvenience this may have caused to members currently taking this medication, however, the matter is out of the control of the Plans.”



NMHC MAIL-ORDER PRESCRIPTIONS WEBSITE UPDATED & IMPROVED

MM&P Plans Administrator Valerie Verrecchio reports, “Good news! NMHC mail has finally gotten their website upgraded and functioning properly. I went in and tested it myself and found it to be quite user friendly.”

To use NMHC’s upgraded service, go to the NMHC Mail website at www.nmhcmail.com and click on “MEMBER LOGIN” at the bottom of the screen.

First-time and Registered users may bypass the welcome screen and go directly to the log-in page at https://members.nmhcrx.com/Login/Login.aspx.

  • First-time users should then click on the link marked “NEW USER: REGISTER HERE”.
    This will take you to a page titled “MEMBER REGISTRATION” where you will need to enter demographic information and submit it by clicking on the
  • “CREATE ACCOUNT” button.

After creating your account, NMHC will email you a password to gain entry into your records. With your first sign-in, the NMHC system will prompt you to change the NMHC password to one of your own choosing.

Once you are registered at NMHC, you can check the status of open orders by logging-in to the system through the “MEMBER LOGIN” page and going into the “MAIL ORDER” menu. You can look up all prescriptions and get the price our members will pay for any medication. You can also view an order history of all of your medication transactions (both retail and mail) for the last 24 months, locate 24-hour pharmacies in your zip code region as well as access other helpful member education information.

“We hope this welcome improvement will assist our members. Although you cannot order refills on line if you don’t provide a credit or debit card number, you can phone in your refill. Once you register on the website, you will still have access to all of the other information including checking the status of your order once it is phoned in,” said Ms. Verrecchio.



WWII USCG VETERANS OUTREACH

The U.S. Coast Guard has announced an initiative to identify and collect the oral histories of its World War II veterans. Coast Guard WWII veterans, including SPARS and merchant mariners, are encouraged to record their histories online with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project at www.loc.gov/folklife/vets.

Those veterans needing assistance in recording their stories can receive help from their local Coast Guard Auxiliary public affairs contact by leaving a message at 1-877-875-6296, a toll-free call.




 

COMPANY GIVES BUCKS BACK FOR BUYING SAFE SHOES

LMS Ship Management, the company that manages vessels for Central Gulf, Sulphur Carriers and Waterman Steamship, wants to remind MM&P members that they offer their crewmembers a $75 reimbursement on the cost of purchasing certain slip-resistant shoes and boots for use aboard ship.

This offer has been in place for some time and LMS reports that “we have been pleased with the participation to date, but feel a reminder may be in order.” Their goal is for every crewmember to wear slip resistant footwear during working hours aboard their vessels.

The $75 reimbursement is available to each crewmember who provides LMS with an original receipt for the purchase of slip resistant footwear. In order for the crewmember to obtain the reimbursement, they must wear the shoes while on duty. Upon presentation of the receipt, the crewmember will be reimbursed on their pay voucher. The receipt will be retained by the Master and will remain aboard the vessel.
 
 

Vessels in the LMS footwear reimbursement program are:

  • Green Cove
  • Green Dale
  • Green Lake
  • Green Point
  • Atlantic Forest
  • Sulphur Enterprise
  • Energy Enterprise
  • SGT Matej C. Kocak
  • MAJ Stephen W. Pless, and
  • PFC Eugene A. Obregon

LMS notes that in order to receive reimbursement, crewmembers must purchase one of the following recommended brands:

  • WORX by Red Wing Slip Resistant Footwear
  • Caterpillar (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)
  • Wolverine (must have steel toe and slip resistant sole)
  • Dunham Sierra Work Boot EH
  • Steel Toe Voyager
  • Georgia Boot 6- or 8-inch Safety Toe Boot
  • Dr. Marten’s (must have steel toe & slip resistant sole)

LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL:

Of the boots listed above, Red Wing, Caterpillar and Wolverine boots are produced by US union labor.

Redwing’s Union-made products are: Red Wing shoes and boots, Red Wing motorcycle boots and Craftsman (Sears).

Wolverine World Wide manufactures boots under the Caterpillar brand using US union labor. (Other union made safety-shoe brands by Wolverine are the company’s Hy-Test, Durashock and Bates Military labels. The company’s Wolverine brand combat boots are also produced using US union labor.)

Most Dr. Marten’s shoes and boots are produced in the UK.

To find US, union-made products, visit the AFL-CIO Union Label Service and Trades website at www.unionlabel.org and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to www.ShopUnionMade.org.




 

WEBSITE OFFERS UNION-MADE GOODS AND SERVICES

The Union Label recently went digital with a new website offering shoppers an array of union-made gifts, from clothing and chocolates to computers, games and greeting cards.

The website, www.shopunionmade.org, launches on the eve of the fall and winter holidays, when shoppers will spend an estimated $1 trillion on gifts, food, drinks and other seasonal items, explained Matt Bates, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO Union Label & Service Trades Department. The all-union shopping site, however, will be a year-round operation because that is what consumers demand, he added.

“Shoppers spent $56 billion in Internet sales last year, and on-line spending is doubling every two to three years. Everyday we receive Email and calls from people who want to support good jobs by buying union-made goods and services. The website will reach millions of people, 24 hours a day, with a quick convenient way to shop union,” Bates said.

“The public is ready for this. People have seen millions of good jobs disappear and they are looking for ways to take a stand and make a difference,” he added.

The AFL-CIO will target the peak of the holiday shopping season by promoting “Buy Union Week” Nov. 26 through Dec. 5. The newly-launched, all-union shopping site will be a cornerstone of that campaign. MM&P has a link to the Shop Union Site on this website under “Links and Other Sources”.



The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd., Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: iommp@bridgedeck.org. For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org. The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

C 2006, International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots. All the material contained in this publication is protected by copyright. For permission to reprint text from the Weekly, contact the MM&P Communications Department: lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org. For changes of address, contact John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org.

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