Wheelhouse Weekly – December 09, 2005

December 9th 2005



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

Volume 9 . . . . . Number 49 . . . . December 9, 2005




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.



The Board of Trustees met on the 8th of December and made the following changes to the Pension Plan effective 3/1/06.


New participants to the Pension Plan will accrue benefits at the level of two percent for each year of service. Example: A participant joined the Plan after 3/01/06 and accrued 22 years of service. Assuming that this participant’s earning over five of the last ten years was an average of $80,000, this participant would earn a retirement benefit of $35,200 (44 percent of $80,000) or $2,933.00 per month.

In addition, new participants will not be entitled to COLAs unless specifically authorized by the Pension Plan Board of Trustees. Authorization for COLAs would be determined annually based on the financial condition of the Plan.


Current participants in the Pension Plan will also accrue Pension benefits at the level of two percent per year for all years after 3/01/06. However, for any years of service earned at a higher percentage, this percentage would remain unchanged. This change is prospective only. That is, any years of service that have been earned prior to 3/1/06 at high percentage rates of accrual will not be affected. Example: A participant has 27 years of service and has earnings of the best 5 years over the last 10 of $100,000 with the last 2 years used being 2006 and 2007. This participant would accrue 40 percent for the first 20 years, another 12.5 percent for the next 5 years and 2 percent for the last 2 years for a total percentage of 56.5 percent. This would amount to a pension benefit of $56,500 per year or $4,708 per month.


The Board of Trustees also established a system of caps for pensions such that earnings above a certain level would not be used for the purpose of pension calculations.

Effective 3/01/06 the following caps were established:

From 0 to 20 years of service: $90,000

From over 20 years but less than 25 years of service: $105,000

From 25 or more years of service: $120,000

A review criterion contingency was also established. This caveat contingency provides that should the employer’s contribution level fall to 16 percent plus Feinberg or lower, then the above provisions shall be voided and the previous level of benefit provisions will be reestablished so long as the employer’s contribution level does not go above 19 percent plus Feinberg or greater. (Note: Feinberg insures that a participant’s vacation earnings are paid for with contributions such that vacation earnings are included in total earnings.)

The COLA provision described above for the new participants will remain unaffected by this “snapback” contingency.

Pending further information on the financial health of the Pension Plan, additional steps may be taken to reduce the costs of our pension plan. Consideration of additional cost-saving measures will be undertaken at the January 2006 Board of Trustees meeting. Further changes will in a large part be determined by the financial performance of Plan investments during the last two quarters of 2005 and the actions of the Employer Trustees.

The total goal of the Union Trustees is to ensure the continuation and the financial health of the MM&P Pension Plan. Although none of the changes described above were desired by the Union Trustees, they are necessary to help secure the long-term viability of the MM&P defined benefit pension plan.




Gulf Ports Vice President Bob Groh reports that on Thursday, December 8th, MM&P’s New Orleans Hall resumed full operations and the regular business hours of 0900 to 1600. Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and surrounding Gulf Coast areas when it came ashore on August 29th as a Category 4 storm packing 120 mph winds with a storm surge of 18 feet.


Dr. William Gray, the country’s best-known hurricane predictor, is forecasting a “very active Atlantic season” for 2006, but not a repeat of this year’s historic barrage. In his new forecast, Gray predicted 17 named storms, nine hurricanes and five intense hurricanes (Category 3-5) for next year, compared with 26 named storms, 14 hurricanes and seven intense hurricanes this year.

The chance of a major hurricane hitting the US coastline next year is 81 percent, versus a historical average of 52 percent, and the chance of one hitting the Gulf Coast is 47 percent, against an average of 30 percent. Gray also warned of “an above-average major hurricane landfall risk in the Caribbean” next year.

While believing the current cycle of heated storm activity could last another 15-20 years, Gray says that it is statistically unlikely that the coming hurricane seasons will have the number of major US landfall events that were experienced in 2004-2005. Unlike many others, he does not believe global warming is to blame. Instead, Gray believes that the increase in storm occurrence is being driven by changes in ocean salinity, not surface temperature.


Richard Plant, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects, is compiling a comprehensive report containing the latest info on the more thorough background checks now required of merchant mariners for the renewal of a merchant mariner document (MMD) and for the first-time issuance of a USCG license. The article will be published in the upcoming issue of the Master, Mate & Pilot magazine and is intended to offer some guidance to the limited number of mariners who are concerned that an incident from many years ago, in particular on their driving record, might emerge during the course of a background check.

Plant reports that the background check process has recently undergone significant changes that can slow the renewal process, in some cases by weeks or even months. What’s more, there can be serious consequences if the mariner neglects to list on the application a particular incident — even a minor one — which occurred decades earlier. NMC now considers any omission grounds for denying the mariner an MMD and correcting the situation can take days, weeks or months, and possibly require a lawyer.

Plant says that, “MM&P along with other maritime unions are working together to inform lawmakers in Washington of the importance of placing a reasonable time limit on how far back the checks can go. For right now, the main thing to remember is that our members should start the MMD renewal process early. By law, they can start to renew one-year before their document expires.”

For complete details on the current status of mariner background checks and pitfalls to avoid, be sure to read Plant’s article in the next issue of the Master, Mate & Pilot magazine. Plant can be reached at MM&P HQ at


The USCG has asked MERPAC to provide input on the final rulemaking for the implementation of the 1995 Amendments to the Standards of Training and Certification of Watchstanders (STCW). MERPAC is expected to provide comments at the next MERPAC meeting in April. For more info on MERPAC, visit the USCG’s website at


MITAGS Executive Director Glen Paine has announced that the Institute received a citation from Maryland’s Governor, Robert Ehrlich, recognizing its support in enhancing the education of Maryland students. Baltimore/Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce President Walter Townsend presented the Governor’s citation at a recent Mathematics Symposium that was held at MITAGS.

Paine received the Governor’s citation on behalf of MITAGS from Townsend, who read the governor’s message to the attendees of the symposium: “The Honorable Governor of the State of Maryland, Robert L. Ehrlich, hereby awards a Governor’s Citation to the Institute for the outstanding support your organization has provided to the Twelfth Annual Mathematics Symposium held at the Maritime Institute of Technology, enhancing mathematics education for Maryland students, allowing Maryland to remain competitive in the regional and world marketplace by providing necessary skills for the instruction of today’s workplace, and as an expression of our gratitude and sincere admiration for your commitment to public/private initiatives linking schools, government, and the business community to benefit Maryland’s future.”


The Regional Examination Centers of the USCG National Maritime Center are now placing tonnage restrictions on federal near coastal/ocean licenses of 500 Gross Tons or greater during the renewal process if the applicant does not possess a valid STCW certificate.

However, upper level license holders that started their careers before August 1, 1998 may have this restriction removed from their license by completing the original “stop gap” training, a series of assessments, or an approved refresher course.

For more info on the details of this process, contact your local Regional Examination Center or visit the “Career Guidance” section on the MITAGS website at The MITAGS website also has many other downloadable handouts designed to assist mariners in completing their upgrade and renewal process.


NEW COURSE: *WX-BASREF-2 – Two day Basic weather refresher, offered prior to Advanced Meteorology. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PREP, see guidelines below.

CMM Advanced Meteorology IS AN ADVANCED COURSE. Students should register for the basic Weather Refresher course prior to CMM-WXADV if they do not have a foundation of weather knowledge that includes the following:

— Knowledge of the atmosphere and its properties, including change of state of water vapor.
— Atmospheric stability: the atmospheric profiles that are conducive to fog and thunderstorm formation.
— Atmospheric pressure and understanding of diurnal variations versus weather system passages.
— Wind: Be able to estimate wind speed from the Beaufort scale and from observations at sea.
— Be able to calculate geostrophic approximation from isobaric pattern on synoptic charts and convert to true wind speed.
— Be able to calculate true wind speed and direction given ships own course and speed.
— Knowledge of the basic cloud groups and their causes.
— Knowledge of the global wind and pressure systems over the oceans both summer and winter.
— Understanding basic weather systems depicted on synoptic weather charts.
— Understanding of shipboard observations. Determine when and why shipboard observations do not agree with synoptic analyses and forecast charts.
— Be able to revise and construct your own 24 hour weather forecasts based on your local observations and facsimile weather chart information.

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

ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 1/9, 2/13
AZIPOD-KAM – Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 1/24

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 2/13
BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/8
BST – Basic Safety Training: 1/30

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 2/20
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 2/27
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 1/9, 1/30
*WX-BASREF-2 – Two-day Basic weather refresher, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PREP for Advanced Meteorology: 2/4
*CMM- ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology 2/6
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 1/16
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/13
CMM-SHMGT I – Ship Management (week 1): 1/9, 2/6, 2/27
CMM-ADVSTAB – Advanced Stability: 2/13
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 1/20

CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 1/20, 2/10

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 1/9

LAP – License Advancement Program: 1/9
LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 2/8

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 1/19, 2/9
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/14, 2/11
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 1/9, 2/6
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/9, 2/6

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-SMA – Small Arms (4-day): 1/30
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 2/3 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 1/16
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/9, 2/13

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 1/16, 2/6
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 1/9, 2/20
SHS-EMR-Emergency Shiphandling: 2/20

TPIC – Tankerman Person-In-Charge: 2/13

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:


PMI is offering a USCG Crew Endurance Management Coaches Seminar in Seattle from October 26-27 in addition to its regular course offerings listed below. This training is designed to provide commercial mariners the knowledge and skills to develop, deploy, and assess Crew Endurance Management Systems (CEMS) within their companies.

As a Crew Endurance Coach, the employee is critical to the success of CEMS implementation. Coaches provide education and guidance on the principles of light and sleep management, assist with changes to the work and rest environment, make recommendations on schedule changes, and help create personal endurance plans for each crewmember. Once successfully completing the training the Coach will have the necessary training to educate personnel on a vessel, and the processes and practices specific to the USCG Crew Endurance Management Program. The training session spans two full days and includes a written exam. Cost: $425 per person To Register: Call Pacific Maritime Institute at 206-441-2880 or toll free 888-893-7829.

December 2005

12/12-16 Med Pro
12/12-23 Med Pic
12/13-16 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
12/19-21 Ship Security Officer
12/19-23 ARPA
12/19-23 Basic Shiphandling
12/26-30 Emergency Shiphandling 5-day

12/27-29 Ship Security Officer

January 2006

1/ 2-6 BST
1/9-27 TCNAV
1/9-12 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
1/9-13 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
1/9-20 GMDSS
1/9-21 100 Ton OUPV
1/16-20 ECDIS
1/16-20 ARPA
1/16-20 Emergency Shiphandling 5-day
1/23-27 MEDPRO
1/23-2/3 MEDPIC
1/30-2/1 Ship Security Officer
1/30-2/3 RADAR Observer Unlimited
1/30-2/10 GMDSS

February 2006

2/6-10 BST
2/6-9 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
2/6-10 ARPA
2/6 Radar Renewal
2/13-17 ENAV
2/20-3/3 CNAV
2/20-3/3 Advanced Shiphandling
2/20-3/4 100 Ton OUPV
2/27-3/3 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
2/27-3/3 ARPA
2/27 Radar Renewal

March 2006

3/6-10 BST
3/6-9 Lifeboat/Survival Craft
3/6-10 Basic Meteorology
3/6-18 100 Ton OUPV
3/13-24 GMDSS
3/13-17 CONSTB
3/20-24 CHS BAS
3/27-31 MEDPRO
3/27-31 ARPA
3/27 Radar Renewal
3/27-4/7 MEDPIC

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

PMI Merchandise for Sale: High quality with embroidered PMI logo. All prices include tax. Navy Caps: $18.00; Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts Blue or Khaki: $38.00; Coming Soon: Navy, Burgundy, Khaki T-shirts, high quality thick Hanes shirt with pocket $22.00; 15 oz. Beautiful Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug $10.Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail



 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
10,810.91 -69.64 for the week 2,252.01  -1.45 for the week 1,257.3782  -1.45 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)


~ 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.