News

Wheelhouse Weekly – April 16, 2007

April 16th 2007

 

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

Volume 11 . . . . . Number 15. . . .April 16, 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.


MM&P TESTIFIES ON TWIC CARD BEFORE SENATE COMMERCE COMMITTEE

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) should pre-empt local port access schemes and be compatible with international seafarers identity documents, MM&P headquarters staffer Mike Rodriguez told members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation at a hearing on April 12. As currently written, the TWIC regulations allow any state, port or facility to develop its own unique and duplicative access control system.

“The imposition of numerous inconsistent local requirements would require transportation workers to file numerous applications, undergo numerous background checks and pay the fees associated with all the perhaps dozens of identity cards that workers would have to carry,” Rodriguez, the executive assistant to MM&P International President Tim Brown, told the senators. “Such a system clearly places an unreasonable burden on workers and on interstate and foreign commerce,” he said.

Rodriguez expressed other concerns that have been raised repeatedly by MM&P throughout the TWIC rulemaking process. First, because the TWIC system will not be interoperable with international standards, the vast majority of ships and crews in U.S. deepwater ports will not even be covered by the regulations. “U.S. ships working cargo in a U.S. port with U.S. labor will have to comply… while a competing foreign ship with a foreign crew at the same terminal will be exempt,” he testified.

The union also objects to the fact that mariners and other transport workers will be required to pay for the TWIC card. “Security threats against ports and ships are aimed at governments and the public they represent,” he said. “The general public is the principal beneficiary of maintaining a secure martime transportation system and a secure global supply chain.” It follows that it is the role of the government, not individual workers, to respond to the terrorism threat, the union says.

Several senators at the hearing criticized the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the agency with primary responsibility for implementing the TWIC regulations, about the delays and cost overruns that have plagued the program since its inception (see article below). “We’re stuck in limbo but we’re going to ask workers to pay $137 for this card,” commented Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).

Congressional investigators reported that 1,700 of the cards have been issued to workers during testing, well short of the program’s goal of screening 75,000 workers and assigning them cards by this time. Lautenberg commented wryly that since the government has already funded the program to the tune of $99.4 million, “that works out to [a cost of] nearly $60,000 per card issued.” He called the TWIC program “another example of mismanagement and poor planning by this Administration.”

MM&P’s testimony at the hearing also touched on the fact that the list of disqualifying offenses that would bar workers from getting a TWIC remains overly broad, a concern that was echoed the next day by Larry Willis of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department at a TSA-sponsored panel on TWIC.

During the Senate hearing, MM&P urged regulators and lawmakers to ensure that there are an adequate number of administrative law judges (ALJs) in place to handle requests for review by transportation workers who are turned down for a TWIC on the basis of information uncovered during a background check. “Currently the Coast Guard’s ALJ system handles a caseload generated by approximately 200,000 credentialed mariners,” Rodriguez testified. “It has been estimated that the initial surge into the TWIC program will be approximately 850,000 workers. It is imperative that a sufficient number of ALJs be in place to handle the vastly increased caseload.”

Other witnesses at the hearing included: Rear Adm. Brian Salerno of the U.S. Coast Guard; Kip Hawley of TSA; Norman Rabkin of the Government Accountability Office; Lisa Himber of the Maritime Exchange for the Delaware River and Bay; and Paul Pomaikai Sr., who represented the American Waterways Operators (AWO).

Pomaikai said AWO’s primary concern about the TWIC is that “the process for obtaining a card will become a barrier to entry into the maritime industry for new hires,” noting that in Hawaii, where he is based, applicants could conceivably have to travel several times to a different island to apply for and receive the card.

Himber said the regulations do not include an effective mechanism for addressing the use of casual workers who may enter ports as infrequently as once or twice a year to handle surges in seasonal cargo, such as crops. The Coast Guard’s draft NVIC on the topic calls for such workers to be “escorted” into secure areas by a TWIC-holder, but Himber pointed out that such a scenario would be impractical, to say the least. “At the hiring hall, a longshoreman offers to drive three or four day laborers to the pier to report for work,” she hypothesized. “Upon arrival, these individuals may be assigned to work different ships, and therefore the TWIC-holder is no longer in a position to serve as escort. Or perhaps one of the workers is female and the TWIC-holder is male. Surely he cannot be expected to stay by her side during the entire workday.” Himber also asked how a TWIC-holding worker could escort several others while still fulfilling his or her own professional responsibilities on a ship or in a port.

Although the GAO gave TSA points on moving forward with such a complex project, Radkin said he was “not as optimistic as [TSA’s] Hawley: the prototype test was underwhelming and enrollment is not off to a very good start. And card issuance is the easy part,” he told the senators. “Then we have to start with the technology.” A video of the entire hearing can be viewed at:  http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=1843


TECHNICAL PROBLEMS DELAY TWIC ROLLOUT

Rollout of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) will be delayed once again because of technical glitches. The most recent delay increases the probability that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will miss the July 1 deadline by which the top ten U.S. ports in terms of risk are supposed to have the TWIC program in place.

In April 12 testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, TSA Administrator Kip Hawley said he’d rather be safe than sorry. “If it is a choice between meeting the deadline and program integrity,” he said, “we will choose the later.” Implementing this complex technology on such a large scale will take time, he said. “The hard part is not the card, it is the network behind the card.”

Lawmakers at the hearing criticized the agency for continuous delays in issuing the cards. In opening remarks, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said TSA continues to mismanage the TWIC program. “At the last hearing on this topic,” he said, “ we heard about cost overruns, staff changes and insufficient planning.”

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) added that six years and $99.4 million dollars later,  “we still do not have access control at our nation’s ports.” Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) argued that TSA doesn’t even have a handle on how many workers will need TWIC cards, pointing to Hawley’s estimates of between 750,000 and 1.5 million card holders as a “pretty wide range.”

TWIC was introduced at the Port of Wilmington, Del., on April 9, but the program was pulled back shortly afterwards because of technological problems. TSA is in the process of connecting TWIC to the Screening Gateway, an IT infrastructure that supports the electronic collection, transmission, and storage of personally identifiable information, Hawley testified. “To connect the dots and not miss potential links” between the people it covers in different industries, Hawley said, “we now use a centralized vetting system. In turning TWIC on, we must be absolutely certain that we do not jeopardize the stability or security of this larger vetting system.” He said the system needs to through more “rigorous performance testing” before it can go live.

At this point implementation in Wilmington has been pushed back to “later this spring,” according to TSA. After the program has been rolled out in the 10 ports deemed most at risk, the law requires the next 40 ports to be brought online no later than Jan. 1, 2008. All other U.S. ports are supposed to have the TWIC program up and running by Jan. 1, 2009.

Mariners and port workers have until Sept. 25, 2008 to obtain a TWIC. Until then, they can gain access to secure areas of ports, facilities and vessels by showing a valid Merchant Mariner’s Document (MMD) or a merchant mariner’s license with a photo ID.


 

COAST GUARD ON TRACK WITH COMMERCIAL VESSEL TRACKING TECHNOLOGY

The Coast Guard announced that, through use of the latest detection technology,  it has met the April 1 deadline established by the SAFE Port Act of 2006 for tracking all large commercial vessels within the nation’s waters. The agency defines “large commercial vessels” as ships of more than 300 gross tons.

The Coast Guard said it is working with the International Maritime Organization and small commercial vessel operators to close other gaps in maritime security, including long-range tracking of more than 40,000 vessels navigating within 1,000 nautical miles of the United States.



MARAD HEADQUARTERS MOVE AND REORGANIZATION UNDERWAY

Headquarters employees of the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) are charting a new course as they prepare to move into new offices and set into motion the agency’s reorganization plan. Staff will be shifted internally during the process. While positions may also be moved within the agency, none will be eliminated, according to Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton. MARAD will finance the reorganization out of its current budget.

The reorganization will consolidate five program offices into four, including an Office of Environment and Compliance to address the growing regulatory challenges facing the maritime community, Connaughton says. The three other offices are:

— the Office of Business and Workforce Development, which will contain the agency’s U.S. industry promotional activities and oversee marine and shipyard financing, marine insurance, export initiatives for U.S. maritime entities and shipyard development;

— the Office of National Security, which will operate assets for the Department of Defense, including the National Defense Reserve Fleet, as well as plan for emergency sealift; and

— the Office of Intermodal Systems Development, which will focus on the transportation system serving the nation’s waterways.

Gateway offices will be set up nationwide to help the maritime industry and government agencies implement the agency’s policies and monitor how MARAD initiatives affect the flow of cargo through ports. Offices already exist at the ports of New York, Norfolk, Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans, Long Beach, San Francisco and Seattle. New offices will open up at the ports of Miami and Houston.

As part of its “America’s Marine Highway Initiative,” MARAD has also set up a Web site to serve as an electronic clearinghouse promoting waterborne transportation as a viable mode for the U.S. economy. The operations of MM&P-contracted companies, including Crowley, Horizon and Matson, are described on the new site.



HAVE YOU RECEIVED YOUR MOLA BALLOT?

The ballots for the Merchant Officers’ Labor Alliance, or MOLA, will be counted on June 19, 2007, along with the shipping rules ballot and a contract ratification ballot. The MOLA, an agreement signed by MM&P and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA), spells out a number of goals that the two unions intend to pursue together in the spirit of strengthening their fraternal relationship. To be counted, ballots must be at the Linthicum post office by 0900 hours on June 19. If you have not received your ballot, or if you have lost your ballot, please contact MM&P International Comptroller John Gorman at 410-850-8700 ext. 12 or by e-mail: jgorman@bridgedeck.org. The MOLA agreement is available for review at each of the MM&P union halls and is also posted on the MM&P website. To view the agreement on the web, go to www.bridgedeck.org and click on the in the left-hand column.


MM&P-CONTRACTED MATSON CELEBRATES 125TH ANNIVERSARY

Matson Navigation Company is celebrating its 125th birthday this year. The Pacific ocean carrier serves all major Hawaiian ports, Guam and Micronesia. It also has a weekly service from Ningbo and Shanghai to Long Beach. In an official announcement, Matson President and Chief Executive Officer James Andrasick said a key to the company’s success has been its commitment to the state of Hawaii and its residents.


TEXAS BILL WOULD CHARGE VESSELS $150 FEE FOR COASTAL PROTECTION PROGRAMS

In a measure aimed at generating funds to protect coastal regions in the state, a bill now pending in the Texas state legislature would levy a fee of at least $150 on all commercial vessels with a draft of 18 feet or more each time they dock in a Texas port. Under the terms of the bill, the fund would be used for small spill education programs, to contain actual or threatened unauthorized discharges of oil or hazardous substances, and to fund other coastline protection programs.


GREEK OFFICERS ARRESTED IN SINKING OF SEA DIAMOND

The captain of the cruise ship SEA DIAMOND, which sank last Friday after striking a reef in clear weather off the island of Santorini, has been arrested by local authorities and charged with negligence. Other officers on the ship have also been detained. If found guilty, they could face a maximum five-year sentence. The owners of the vessel say its structure and navigation systems were up to date and in good condition. The captain says an unexpectedly strong sea current pushed the SEA DIAMOND onto the rocks. Two French passengers are missing and presumed dead. Another 1,600 people were rescued from the vessel before it sank. Emergency response teams are fighting to contain the oil slick, which has apparently already affected several miles of coast.


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-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): 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: 6/11
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 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
SHS-EMR- BRMP-3� Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/22

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
23-27  BST
24-27  LFBT
30th    RADAR RENEWAL
30-4   SHS BAS
30-4   BAFF
30-4   AB

May 2007
7-11    ROP
7-11    SHS BAS
7-11    BST
7-18    CNAV
7-18    GMDSS
8-11    LFBT
14-18  ARPA
14-25  GMDSS
14-15  BFF
14-19  WX ADV
16-18  AFF
21-25  ENAV
21-25  TPIC
21-25  CHS BAS
21st     FL
22-23 SHS ASS
21-25  BST
22-23 BFF
29th    RADAR RENEWAL
29-2    WX BAS
29-2    AB
29th    FL
30-31 SHS ASSESS

June 2007
1-2      SHS ASSESS
4-8      TPIC
4-8      MED PRO
4-15    MED PIC
4-15    WKP
4-22    TCNAV
5-8      LFBT
11-13  SEC VCF
11-13  WKP
11-15  BST
11-15  AB
11-29  TCNAV
18-22 ARPA
25-29 ROP
25-29 BAFF

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 4-13-2007

 

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
12,612.13 2,491.94 1,452.85
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
133.86
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
41.34
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
25.47
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
19.78
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
36.20
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.18
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
6.25
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
9.96
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
19.53
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.55
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
31.64
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
94.12
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
21.78
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
86.47
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
51.43
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
34.46

.






~ 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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