Wheelhouse Weekly – Dec. 22, 2015

December 22nd 2015

Volume 20 . . . Number 51. . . Dec. 22, 2015


In this issue:

Labor News:

News for MM&P Members:


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The MM&P Federal Credit Union, MM&P headquarters and all port offices will be closed onDec. 24 and 25, and on Jan. 1. Atlantic Ports, Pacific Ports and Gulf Ports are also closed onDec. 31. The MM&P Plan Office will be closed on Dec. 24 and 25, and on Jan. 1.

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The President has signed omnibus appropriations legislation that includes much needed and significant new funding levels for the Maritime Security Program (MSP). In the short term, the omnibus legislation increases MSP funding for Fiscal Year 2016 by $24 million, making each vessel participating in the program eligible for $3.5 million in Fiscal Year 2016, rather than the previously authorized $3.1 million.

Significantly, the omnibus legislation also recognizes the importance of providing a long-term MSP funding schedule that more realistically addresses the impact that reductions in defense and other government cargoes have had on the fleet.

It does so by authorizing an increase in the per-vessel stipend for each of the 60 militarily useful U.S.-flag commercial vessels in the maritime security fleet to $4,999,990 per ship in Fiscal Year 2017; $5 million per ship in each of Fiscal Years 2018, 2019 and 2020; and $5,230,000 per ship in Fiscal Year 2021.

This increase, which reflects the amount the Maritime Administration has indicated is necessary to retain the 60 vessels and their maritime jobs for the U.S. flag, will help guarantee that the Department of Defense continues to have the commercial sealift capability it needs to protect America’s interests and to support American troops around the world.

“This action by Congress is a critically important first step in our ongoing battle to strengthen and grow the U.S.-flag merchant marine,” said MM&P President Don Marcus.

“It clearly demonstrates that Congress understands that the most cost effective and efficient way for our government to have the sealift capability it needs is through the Maritime Security Program and its partnership with U.S.-flag shipping companies and American maritime unions. It goes a long way to keeping ships under the U.S. flag and ensuring that American maritime jobs will not be sent overseas.”

“We had a tremendous amount of help from a number of our Congressional friends and supporters,” Marcus said, “but special thanks are due to Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congressman Steny Hoyer for their powerful advocacy on behalf of our industry and the Maritime Security Program as Congressional leadership developed the omnibus appropriations bill.”

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The Baltic Dry Index, the most important indicator of commodity shipping rates, has fallen to a new record because of overcapacity in the global shipping industry and fears that lower steel output by China could cause a further drop in iron ore imports to the country’s steel mills.

The index had fallen to 478 points as this issue of The Wheelhouse Weekly was being distributed, the lowest since data collection began in January 1985. China, which makes about half the world’s steel, is on track for the biggest drop in output in more than two decades, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence: for the first time in more than 10 years, imports by sea of both iron ore and coal have fallen on an annual basis.

The dramatic drop in trade rates means shipowners will continue to lay-up, sell or scrap their excess tonnage in coming months.

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Collective bargaining is a powerful economic tool: It helps ensure that productivity gains are shared more equally throughout society.

The saga of the three Detroit automakers and their workers is a textbook case for collective bargaining, writes U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez in a recent OpEd in the Detroit Free Press. Seven years after receiving a multibillion-dollar government bailout to avoid bankruptcy and huge job losses, the automakers are experiencing a change in fortune.

Members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) also agreed to significant concessions to increase the companies’ chances of survival.

“Workers agreed to bear some of the burden, forgo benefits and take a haircut,” Perez wrote. But “today, the Detroit Three are back in the black, transforming themselves to become more competitive and efficient. The automakers’ shareholders have been reaping the benefits of this resurgence. Now, with the ratification of historic new contracts, autoworkers are also partners in benefiting from their employers’ renewed growth,” he writes.

Perez calls it “a textbook case of shared sacrifice leading to shared prosperity,” adding “it is a triumph of collective bargaining, one of our most powerful forces for upward mobility and economic security.”

“Historically, there has been a direct link between a dynamic labor movement and a thriving American middle class,” Perez says.

“Union members enjoy higher pay, superior benefits and safer workplaces. Plus, unions put upward pressure on wages and labor standards throughout the economy, boosting the prosperity of members and nonmembers alike (we all benefited from the advent of the weekend).”

He decries the wave of attacks on collective bargaining, which he says are being orchestrated by “the beneficiaries of economic inequality.”

At present, he writes, they are fighting to cripple public employee unions in a case that is now before the Supreme Court, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.

The outcome of that case—due to be decided in coming months–could threaten public sector workers’ ability to stand together in unions, Perez says.

“Although we have experienced a recent uptick in average hourly earnings, long-term wage stagnation remains a grave threat to middle-class living standards in the United States,” he writes.

“Going back to the late 1970s, even as their productivity has increased more than 90 percent, the real wages of production and nonsupervisory workers have virtually flat-lined. And not coincidentally, the number of workers represented by unions has shrunk over the same period.”

“The successful UAW negotiations demonstrate once again that collective bargaining is essential to a balanced economy,” he concludes.

“Hard work is rewarded. Everyone has a chance to succeed. Workers, companies, shareholders and communities all benefit. In short, this is about creating shared prosperity, which is the unfinished business of this recovery.”

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Drivers in Seattle’s for-hire industry won the right to collectively bargain over their wages and working conditions under an ordinance that was passed unanimously last Monday by the Seattle City Council. Drivers, their community supporters and labor unions cheered the development, which many consider a shift towards greater protections for workers in the so-called “gig economy.”

“The ‘on-demand’ or ‘gig’ economy isn’t run by apps or machines,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “It’s powered by the labor of working people. The vote by the Seattle City Council represents progress in the fight to extend collective bargaining rights to all workers, regardless of whether they drive for Uber or work in a factory. Everyone deserves the right to speak up together on the job. We applaud the drivers for taking a stand on this important issue, and we stand with working people across the country in their efforts to have their voices heard and create a better life.”

Under the proposal, drivers would have the ability to come together to choose a non-profit organization to represent them. Once authorized, the organization could engage in collective bargaining on the drivers’ behalf. The new law would apply to all taxi drivers, for-hire drivers, and drivers for app-based dispatch companies, such as Uber and Lyft. Because these workers have been deemed to be “independent contractors,” they are not able to form a labor union under the traditional National Labor Relations Board process.

“This legislation allows drivers to have a voice and negotiate with the companies,” wrote Teresa Mosqueda of the Washington State Labor Council in testimony submitted to the Seattle City Council. “It keeps pace with the changes in the app-based economy, which have left many workers without basic workplace protections. This represents the next, and necessary, step in addressing rights for the on-demand workforce.”

The Seattle measure is supported by Uber drivers, who claim the company has cut their pay without notice on several occasions, and by traditional taxi cab drivers, who say it is harder and harder for them to earn a family-sustaining wage.

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First responders who spent months at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, will finally receive lifetime medical care for the illnesses attributable to their work at the disaster site.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act was included in the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last week and signed into law by President Obama.

The measure, which was opposed by many anti-labor politicians in Congress, was the object of intense lobbying by first responders, their families and even media personalities such as comedian Jon Stewart, who twice visited Congress in support of the bill. It makes what is essentially a permanent extension to the health care program for first responders.

“Never again will survivors and responders be forced to walk the halls of Congress, begging for their health care,” said New York Democrat Rep. Carolyn Maloney in an official statement released on the eve of passage of the bill. “Never again will they lose sleep over fear that this life-saving program will run out.”

“Now those who rushed to the towers will know that if they get sick because of their bravery, the federal government will be there for them the way they were there for us,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “It took too long but Congress finally rose to its responsibility to help our heroes.”

New York Republican Rep. Peter King told NBC News: “Passing the Zadroga bill was a long hard fight for the brave cops, firefighters and construction workers who put their lives and health on the line at Ground Zero. They deserve the very best medical care and treatment and I was proud to be part of this successful effort.”

Congress had been slow to act on ensuring the responders permanent health care. Even with overwhelming bipartisan support for the legislation, some House and Senate Republicans viewed the program as an unfunded entitlement and fought to limit its size and shorten its duration.

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Job-fitted, job-tested Thorogood work boots are made by union members in the United States. Until midnight on Dec. 29, using discount code MRX5XD, MM&P members can get discounts on Thorogood American Heritage Wedge, Classic Comfort and Flex Sole Safety and Non-Safety Styles. To find out more, go to and enter discount code MRX5XD, call 1-800-723-5384 M-F from 0700 to 2100 CST or e-mail

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The Plan Office has received approval to close the year-end Internal Revenue Service and company reports and to process Vacation and PRO payments for 2015 no later thanTuesday, Dec. 22, 2015, at 3:00 p.m. EST. All requests for 2015 Vacation and PRO payments received after this date and time will be held until Jan. 4, 2016 for processing and will therefore be taxable in 2016. If you have any questions, please contact Ken Ryan at 410-850-8617.

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The list of candidates for national elective office who have received support from the MM&P Political Contribution Fund (PCF) for their 2016 races has been posted in the Members’ Only section of There are many others who we do support and will be contributing to as the election season continues. This list will be periodically updated as additional contributions are made by the PCF.

The MM&P PCF contributes to the election campaigns of candidates in any political party who support the American Merchant Marine and stand with us in the battle to preserve the Jones Act, cargo preference, the Maritime Security Program and other policies and programs that protect the jobs of MM&P members.

If you have not yet contributed to the MM&P PCF, we ask that you do so now so that together, we can keep our ships sailing and MM&P members working. To contribute, go to and click on PCF.

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To remove the “Not valid after 12/31/2016” limitations from your STCW certificate as part of your Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) and to ensure your completed STCW 2010 gap-closing courses are included in your U.S. Coast Guard file, you must submit a no-cost application to the USCG. Additional information can be found on the MITAGS-PMI website.

Here’s a simplified procedure for submitting gap-closing course completion certificates and removing STCW 2010 limitations ONLY:

1. Complete gap-closing courses required for your license

2. Complete USCG-719B application, found at this website, with the following information:
– TRANSACTION box: check ‘Officer & STCW Certificate’ and ‘Endorsement’ boxes
– APPLYING FOR section: write “Remove STCW 2010 limitations”
– SAVE THE COMPLETED CG-719B form to your computer
– Submit pages 4-6 of the CG-719B application and copies of gap-closing certificates to any USCG REC
– Applications to your REC may be submitted via e-mail, fax, mail or in person.

– There are no fees to remove restrictions

If you’re submitting the application via e-mail:
– Scan both the completed CG-719B form and gap-closing course completion certificates.
– Save them to your computer
– Select your REC from the NMC website and then select the ‘E-mail Application’ button at the top left of that REC’s webpage.
– Attach the completed CG-719B and certificates from your computer file to the e-mail
– Subject Line: Include on the subject line of your e-mail: your last name, first name, middle initial, mariner reference # (for example: Smith, Jonathan, A, 12345) and “Removal of STCW Limitations”
– Send your e-mail.

You should receive a return receipt e-mail confirming delivery and another when it’s processed at the NMC.

Once your application is processed by the USCG, one of two things can happen:

If your current MMC does not contain limitations, the USCG will send you a letter stating that your current MMC is in order and your gap-closing course completion certificates will be included in your file for your next MMC renewal.

If your MMC does contain the STCW limitation, i.e., “NOT VALID AFTER 12/31/16,” you will receive a sticker back from the USCG with the limitations removed from the STCW section. Attach the new sticker in your MMC.

If you have any questions you can take a look at the MITAGS-PMI website for the revised “Guide to STCW Manila Amendments and the USCG Final Rule” or call MITAGS Student Services Coordinator Victor Tufts at (443) 989-3531 or e-mail at

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MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below. New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Elisabeth Cruz, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail: Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 4/18/16, 8/22/16, 10/17/16

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/27/16, 7/22/16

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 1/26/16, 4/5/16, 8/9/16, 9/27/16

AZIPOD 2-Day – 2/29/16, 5/25/16, 11/14/16

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 2/1/16, 4/4/16, 8/8/16, 10/31/16

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/29/16, 05/23/2016, 7/18/16, 11/14/16

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 3/2/16,04/13/16

BT – Basic Safety Training: 1/25/16, 2/22/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

BT-Revalidation – 05/10/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/25/16, 11/14/16

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVNAV-CMM – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): Contact Admissions

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 1/25/16, 3/28/16, 06/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/17/16

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 1/4/16, 3/7/16, 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 11/7/16

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 04/04/16, 10/24/16

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/21/16, 06/13/16,7/25/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/10/16, 11/28/16, 12/19/16

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM)1/18/16, 2/15/16, 2/29/16, 3/14/16, 4/4/16, 4/11/16, 5/23/16, 6/27/16, 7/11/16, 7/25/16,8/15/16,8/22/16, 9/12/16, 10/3/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16,11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 05/02/16, 9/19/16

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 3/28/16, 6/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/31/16

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 04/18/16, 10/3/16

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/11/16, 2/8/16, 3/14/16, 04/18/16, 05/09/16, 06/13/16, 7/18/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/24/16, 11/7/16, 12/5/16

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 1/18/16, 2/15/16, 3/21/16, 04/25/16, 05/16/16, 06/20/16, 7/25/16, 8/22/16, 9/19/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16, 12/12/16

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 2/29/16, 9/12/16

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 05/09/16, 9/26/16

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 05/02/16, 10/24/16

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 3/2/16, 7/19/16

DDE – Great Lakes: 2/1/16, 6/6/16

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 3/2/16, 05/25/16, 7/20/16, 11/14/16

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 1/4/16, 2/8/16, 3/21/16, 4/18/16, 5/9/16, 7/18/16, 8/22/16, 9/26/16, 10/24/16, 11/14/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 1/25/16, 2/22/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 1/26/16, 04/19/16, 9/20/16

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: 1/22/16

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/7/16, 8/22/16

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/27/16, 8/29/16, 12/5/16

LAP- 4/4/16, 9/19/16

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: 1/25/16

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 3/7/16, 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 12/5/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 1/27/16, 3/1/16, 4/20/16, 5/23/16, 7/19/16, 9/21/16, 11/15/16

LNG-TPIC – 12/5/16

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 1/7/16, 4/4/16

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/28/16, 4/25/16, 5/16/16, 7/11/16, 8/29/16, 9/19/16, 10/17/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 1/4/16, 3/21/16, 05/16/16, 7/11/16, 11/7/16, 12/12/16

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 2/1/15, 3/14/16, 05/02/16, 8/29/16, 10/3/16

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/4/15, 2/15/16, 3/21/16, 05/16/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/12/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/9/16, 1/31/16, 3/19/16, 05/14/16, 8/28/16, 11/12/16, 12/17/16

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 3/8/16, 6/10/16, 8/10/16, 10/17/16

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 3/5/16 (March is 4 evenings), 6/8/16, 8/8/16, 10/18/16

*MSC-ENVPRO –2/28/16, 6/5/16, 8/7/16, 10/16/16

*MSC-FF-HELO – 2/22/16, 6/6/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 1/4/16, 2/29/16, 6/13/16, 8/14/16, 10/23/16

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 2/26/16, 6/11/16, 8/11/16, 10/20/16

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 1/8/16, 3/4/16, 6/17/16, 8/13/16, 10/22/16

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 1/10/16, 3/5/16, 6/18/16, 8/18/16, 10/27/16

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – Contact Admissions

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/25/16, 5/9/16

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 1/6/16, 1/13/16, 2/3/16, 2/10/16, 2/24/16, 3/9/16, 3/16/16, 04/06/16, 04/20/16, 05/04/16, 05/18/16, 06/08/16, 06/22/16, 7/13/16, 7/27/16, 8/10/16, 8/24/16, 9/21/16, 10/5/16, 10/19/16, 11/2/16, 11/9/16, 11/16/16, 11/30/16, 12/7/16, 12/14/16

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 1/18/16, 2/1/16, 8/1/16

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 04/18/16, 11/7/16

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 2/15/16, 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/29/16, 10/17/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 1/25/16, 3/7/16, 05/02/16, 8/1/16, 10/3/16, 11/28/16

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 2/8/16, 8/8/16

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 1/4/16, 7/11/16

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/22/16, 8/8/16

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 4/28/16

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 2/15/16, 04/25/16, 7/13/16, 9/7/16, 10/22/16

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 3/21/16, 10/3/16

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 2/29/16, 9/19/16

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Please also see our schedule and enroll online at For registration contact our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen: 206.838.1126 or

January 2016

4-8 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
4-8 Engine Resource Management
4-22 Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation
11th Flashing Light
11-15 ECDIS
11-15 Train the Trainer
18-22 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
25-29 Radar Observer Unlimited
25-29 MEECE

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The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2015. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly. For address changes, send an e-mail to Back issues of The Weekly are posted on