Wheelhouse Weekly – April 28, 2006

April 28th 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 17. . . . April 28, 2006




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 Gulf Ports Vice President Bob Groh reports that the union and Trinity Management Group have concluded negotiations on the contracts that cover the dredges COLUMBIA and ATCHAFALAYA. The contracts provide for wage and benefit adjustments in the first year to bring MM&P members aboard Trinity’s dredges into alignment with the rest of the industry. In the second and third years, under the terms of the contracts, wages will be increased by 3 percent. The IRAP contribution will increase by ½; percent in each of the first two years.

The agreement also calls for: an increase in the transportation reimbursement; an increase in the allowance for work-related footwear; an increase in the contribution to the MATES program; and installation of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on both vessels. For MM&P, participants in the negotiations were Bob Groh and Atlantic Ports Vice President Rich May, Agent Gulf Ports Wayne Farthing and Mike Rodriguez. Trinity Management President Steve Miceli represented the company. Also participating were rank and file members Ricky Torres, Dave Esteves, Jeff Mason and Charles Shagena.



The USCG National Maritime Center has issued a notification addressing the type of photograph that is appropriate for ID purposes on a Merchant Mariner’s Document (MMD) or an STCW certificate. The photograph must provide an accurate representation of the individual. An applicant may wear headgear or a full beard due to religious belief or wear a wig or sunglasses while undergoing medical procedures.

Similar considerations do not apply to an individual who wishes to wear a head covering solely for vanity or personal reasons that do not rise to the level of a Constitutional or medical consideration. The photograph must permit the ascertainment of the applicant’s current facial appearance. An applicant submitting a photograph with headgear, wig, sunglasses, or full beard should provide supporting evidence documenting the need for it.



Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it is taking significant steps quickly to enhance security by checking the backgrounds of port workers. DHS will begin conducting name-based background checks on up to 400,000 port workers within the US. These checks will be an initial measure while DHS also expedites the implementation of its biometric-based Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).

“It is fundamental that individuals who pose a security threat do not gain access to our nation’s ports,” stated DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff. “The name-based checks will provide an immediate security boost while we simultaneously complete the work to implement a secure national transportation worker credential.”

The preliminary name checks will be completed this summer and will initially be required for longshoremen and maritime employees of facility owners and operators.
Ultimately all individuals will require a TWIC in order to be eligible for unescorted access to secure areas.

Basic identifying info will be collected by the USCG during the name-based checks that will allow the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to vet workers against terrorist watch lists through the Terrorist Screening Center. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will ensure workers are legally eligible to work in the US.
Though biometric information will not be collected during the initial name checks, it will be a key piece of identity verification for the TWIC. The initial name check will not include the full criminal record check that will be a part of the TWIC program.



According to media reports, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is planning to issue new regulations to improve cargo and port security beyond what Congress might require through legislation. Published reports say that DHS wants foreign ports to do a better job of screening cargo before it is loaded on ships bound for the US. DHS is reportedly investigating whether new mechanical or electronic seals can be used to secure containers.

DHS is also studying private-sector initiatives like the one used to improve cargo screening at the Port of Hong Kong. Through this initiative, a radiation detector, a gamma ray X-ray and an optical character recognition system screens every container. Data about each container, including the images of what is inside, is stored in an electronic database for inspectors to review. With some limitations, that system demonstrates that a lot of cargo can be moved through an advanced screening system effectively.


Dubai Port World executive David Sanborn has been named to head the restructured Americas division of DP World. The move comes after the Bush administration withdrew Sanborn’s nomination to head the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) several weeks ago in the wake of the political firestorm that doomed the Dubai company’s effort to take over P&O’s US port operations. Sanborn previously served as the company’s director of operations in Europe and Latin America.

With Sanborn’s nomination withdrawn, the interim job of running MARAD will be left to chief counsel Julie Nelson, who will take the helm when Deputy (and acting) Administrator John Jamian departs on May 1st. Published reports say that the Bush Administration now plans to hire a new deputy administrator and let that person, who will not be subject to Senate confirmation, run the agency for the remainder of President Bush’s term


In addressing a conference on maritime security held last week in Washington, DC, Chuck Raymond, CEO and President of MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines, stated that he believes the maritime industry needs three information layers to secure the US from terrorism through container shipping.

“The critical point for control in the supply chain is at the point of embarkation — before the journey across the sea even begins. And that,” Raymond said, “is solely dependent on the quality of the data and security checks.
You wouldn’t fly an airline whose security check on baggage and passengers was on arrival; you should be concerned about cargo before it ever leaves the dock overseas.”

The three information layers, he said, are:
— The physical security layer involves radiation checking devices, customs searches, container seal integrity and even surveillance cameras and equipment at warehouses and terminal gates.
— The operation tracking data layer, using carriers, terminals, inland transportation, container yards and every other operational checkpoint.
— The documentation data layer includes Custom’s 24-hour manifest data requirement, the original procurement information, carrier booking data, point of origin, cargo description and the consignee. Especially important in this layer is the need for foreign exporters to the US to have cargo entry data submitted prior to container departure.
Today, this data is often filed after the container arrives at final destination.”

Noting the recent firestorm and ultimate failure over Dubai Ports World acquisition of P&O Terminal operations in US ports, Raymond said: “This was a perfect example of the politicians and the people completely missing the point.
The problem was never about what the threat is onshore – after the cargo arrives – it is offshore, where all security checks must be in place. And that’s where the government has to focus its efforts. ”


Late this week, the House Homeland Security Committee voted down an amendment to scan 100 percent of American-bound shipping containers for radiological weapons. The amendment, offered by Congressman Ed Markey, (D-MA) is based on the SOS Act, written by Congressman Nadler (D-NY), Leader Pelosi (D-CA), and Congressman James Oberstar (D- MN), and is identical to an amendment passed by Congressman Nadler in the House Transportation Committee earlier this month.

Wal-Mart and other big businesses have been lobbying against 100-percent scanning, alleging that it will slow their massive import operations. Nadler, Markey, Leader Pelosi, and Congressman Oberstar have led the Democratic push to adopt 100-percent scanning, contending that the only real threat to commerce is the chance that a nuclear weapon could be smuggled into an American port.


The US Naval hospital ship USNS Mercy, crewed by MM&P Licensed Deck Officers, departed its San Diego homeport on April 24th in support of a five-month humanitarian assistance mission to the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia. Following logistics stops along the way, MERCY should arrive in the Philippines in mid-to-late May.

The ship’s mission is being coordinated with host nations in the region and is being carried out in conjunction with non-governmental relief organizations to provide medical, dental and other humanitarian assistance programs ashore and afloat.

“The deployment of USNS MERCY to Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific exemplifies the United States’ commitment to working together with our friends, partners, and the regional community,” said Adm. Gary Roughead, commander, US Pacific Fleet. “By deploying the MERCY, we are training our medical crew in order to better prepare them to respond in times of disaster relief and armed conflict.”

Last year, MERCY performed a similar mission following the December 2004 tsunami that struck Southeast Asia. During that mission, medical personnel treated more than 107,000 patients, performed 466 surgeries, distributed 11,555 pairs of eyeglasses and performed more than 6,900 dental procedures. More info on MERCY can be found on the Pacific Fleet Web site at


The Shipping Coordinating Committee, sponsored by the US Department of State, will meet in Washington, DC on May 1.
The purpose of the meeting is to prepare for the upcoming session of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee. Topics on the agenda include: long range identification and tracking of ships; amendments to the IMDG Code and the STCW Convention; passenger ship safety; and measures to enhance maritime security.


MITAGS is accepting applications for an Instructor to teach courses required for attainment of the Chief Mate/Master
(CMM) license. The position requires an unlimited tonnage any ocean Master’s license, with five years or more experience sailing as Master. Excellent computer skills, experience with electronic bridge and integrated navigation systems desired. This is a part-time position to start. Applicants should email resumes to; or fax to: HR Manager, 443-989-3341. See the MITAGS Web site,, for more information.

MITAGS is also accepting applications for a full-time instructor to work at its Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle, WA. The Instructor will develop courses in the maritime field and provide classroom and simulation instruction to merchant marine deck officers. Experience in towing as well as dry and liquid cargo vessels is preferred. Five years maritime experience at the Chief Mate or Master level with knowledge and skills using bridge systems desired. Graduate of maritime or military academy (USNA, USCGA) preferred. Applicants should email resumes to; or fax to: HR Manager, 443-989-3341. See the PMI Web site,, for more information.


CLASS OPENINGS: Between January and the end of June 2006, seats are available in the following courses:

AIS – Automated Identification Systems: 5/5
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 5/1, 6/5
AZIPOD-2 – Two-Day Azipod Steering and Propulsion: 6/5

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 5/15
BRMP – Bridge Resource Mangement for Pilots: 6/20
BST – Basic Safety Training: 5/22, 6/26

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 6/12
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 6/19
*WX-BASREF-2 – Two day Basic weather refresher, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PREP for Advanced Meteorology: 6/22
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 5/22, 6/26
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 5/15
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 6/26
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management I (week 1): 6/19
CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management II (week 2): 5/15, 6/12
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 6/16
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/29, 6/26
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 5/8, 6/5
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 6/5

COMP-OPSYS – Basic Computer Operating Systems: 6/26
CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 6/9
CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 5/15

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 5/22, 6/26

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 5/1, 6/12

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 5/4, 6/8
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 5/13, 6/10, 6/24
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 5/8, 6/5, 6/19
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 5/8, 6/5, 6/19

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 5/10, 6/19
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 5/11, 6/20
MSC-SMA – Small Arms (4-day): 5/15
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 5/19, 6/23 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 5/22
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 5/1, 5/15, 6/5, 6/21

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 6/5
SHS-EMR – Emergency Shiphandling: 6/26

Check the MITAGS website at 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:


Spring – Summer 2006


May 2006

5/8-12 Basic Shiphandling
5/8-12 BST
5/8-12 AB
5/8-19 GMDSS
5/8-20 100 Ton OUPV
5/15-19 MEDPRO
5/15-26 MEDPIC
5/22 Flashing Light

June 2006
6/5-9 ECDIS
6/5-9 ARPA
6/5-9 BST
6/6-9 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
6/5-23 TCNAV/CO
6/19-23 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
6/19-30 GMDSS
6/26-30 Radar Observer Unlimited
6/26-30 Basic Shiphandling

August 2006
31 Jul-4 Aug Basic Shiphandling
7-11 ECDIS
7-11 Basic Safety Training
7-11 Meteorology – Basic
8-11 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
14-18 Able Bodied Seaman
14-18 Basic and Advanced Firefighting
14-25 GMDSS
14-25 Shiphandling – Advanced
21-25 Ship Construction & Basic Stability
21-25 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
28-1 Sep Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic

September 2006
5-9 (tu-sa) Medical Care Provider
5-9 (tu-sa) Emergency Shiphandling 5-day
5-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
11-12 Search and Rescue
11-15 Basic Safety Training
11-23 100 Ton OUPV
12-15 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
13-15 Emergency Procedures
18-22 Radar Observer Unlimited
18-22 Shiphandling – Basic
18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
18-6 Oct Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation with Compasses
25th Radar Recertification
25-29 ARPA
25-2 Oct Watchkeeping & BRM

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829


High quality with embroidered PMI logo.
Navy or Khaki Hats : $16 / includes tax
Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
Blue or Khaki: $38 / includes tax
Pocket t-shirts with Logo: $12 / includes tax
15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug: $8 / includes tax

Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail



 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
11,380.43 +32.98 for the week 2,331.75 -11.11 for the week 1,311.74 +.46 for the week


Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) 46.40
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)


~ Reminders ~




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:, 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:, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

700 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


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 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.



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.




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.

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 or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.




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 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.”


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 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

  • 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.


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

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.



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)


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 and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to



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,, 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: For further info or to subscribe contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex and is posted on our web page.