News

Wheelhouse Weekly – January 05, 2007

January 5th 2007

 

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

Volume 11 . . . . . Number 1. . . . January 5, 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.





 

CLARIFICATION AND UPDATE OF NMC’S MARINER LICENSING POLICY

On Wednesday, January 3rd, MM&P’s Director of Special Projects Richard Plant met with Captain Ernest Fink, Head of the USCG’s National Maritime Center (NMC), and three of his staffers to discuss licensing exam procedures. During their frank discussion, Plant was informed that except for the extension of the deadline on the old exams, the NMC existing exam policy is not being changed.

As a result of that meeting, the following is an update and clarification on the NMC’s licensing policy as the MM&P now understands it: The US is presently operating under an “interim final rule” for STCW-95. It is anticipated that in approximately one year, the final ruling on STCW-95 will be published. In the meantime, a “Guidance Document” is being generated on license exam procedures and should be available within the next few weeks. It is expected that the Guidance Document will extend the capability of mariners to raise their license (original 3rd license to 2nd Mate/2nd Engineer or from 1st Assistant Engineer to Chief Engineer or from Chief Mate to Master) by taking the existing raise in grade (RIG) license exam, and not the combined exams. Also, no competency check-off of assessments or additional training will be required.

Plant reports that the length of extension of the RIG exams will probably last until the final ruling on STCW-95 is published and recommends that mariners with adequate sea time raise their license rating prior to the issuance of the final ruling on STCW-95. Once the final ruling becomes effective, Plant says that it is anticipated that a requirement to take the combined exams will go in effect. For further info, contact Richard Plant at MM&P HQ at phone: 410-850-8700 ext.36 or email: rplant@bridgedeck.org.




 

DHS ISSUES CREDENTIALING RULE TO SECURE ACCESS TO US PORTS

Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a press statement announcing the issuance of the final rule for the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program. TWIC is designed to enhance port security by checking the background of workers before they are granted unescorted access to secure areas of vessels and maritime facilities. The rule was posted publicly on TSA’s Web site on January 1st, and has been sent to the Federal Register for publication.

The rule lays out the enrollment process, disqualifying crimes, usage procedures, fees and other requirements for workers, port owners, and operators. These guidelines allow the industry, government and public to prepare for the implementation of this important security program.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the USCG held four public meetings around the nation and received more than 1,900 comments regarding the initial draft of this federal rule. Comments were filed by the MM&P and many other maritime unions as well as workers, port facility owners and operators, small businesses and others who would be affected by the new program. The DHS reports that all comments were carefully considered in the development of the final rule. The rule is expected to impact more than 750,000 port employees, longshoreman, mariners, truckers and others who require unescorted access to secure areas of ports and vessels. Specific measures include:

  • Security threat assessment: TWIC applicants will undergo a comprehensive background check that looks at criminal history records, terrorist watch lists, immigration status, and outstanding wants and warrants. If no adverse information is disclosed, TSA typically completes a security threat assessment in less than 10 days.
  • Technology: The credential will be a Smart card containing the applicant’s photograph and name, an expiration date, and a serial number. In addition, an integrated circuit chip will store the holder’s fingerprint template, a PIN chosen by the individual, and a card holder unique identifier.
  • Eligibility: Individuals lacking lawful presence and certain immigration status in the United States, connected to terrorist activity, or convicted of certain crimes will be ineligible for a TWIC.
  • Use: During the initial rollout of TWIC workers will present their cards to authorized personnel, who will compare the holder to his or her photo, inspect security features on the TWIC and evaluate the card for signs of tampering. The Coast Guard will verify TWIC cards when conducting vessel and facility inspections and through spot checks using hand-held readers to ensure credentials are valid. Until card reader technology is tested and a regulation issued on access control, facility owners and operators will not be required to utilize TWIC readers for facility access.
  • Cost: The fee for TWIC will be between $139 and $159, and the TWIC cards will be valid for 5 years. Workers with current, comparable background checks including a HAZMAT endorsement to a commercial driver’s license, merchant mariner document or Free and Secure Trade (FAST) credential will pay a discounted fee, between $107 and $127. The exact amount of the fee will be established and published once an enrollment support contract is finalized in early 2007. A subsequent Federal Register Notice will be issued at that time.
  • Biometric data: Applicants will provide a complete set of fingerprints and sit for a digital photograph. Fingerprint checks will be used as part of the security threat assessment. Fingerprint templates extracted from the biometric data will be stored on the credential.
  • Privacy and information security – The entire enrollment record (including all fingerprints collected) will be stored in the TSA system, which is protected through role-based entry, encryption and segmentation to prevent unauthorized use. Employees of a vendor under contract to TSA known as “Trusted Agents” will undergo a TSA security threat assessment prior to collecting biometric and biographic data of TWIC enrollees. All enrollee personal data is deleted from the enrollment center work stations once the applicant completes the process.

    TWIC enrollment will begin in March 2007, initially at a small number of ports. The implementation will comply with the schedule established in the SAFE Port Act. Additional TWIC deployments will increase and continue throughout the year at ports nationwide on a phased basis. Workers will be notified of when and where to apply prior to the start of the enrollment period in a given area. After issuance of TWIC cards to a port’s workers has been accomplished, DHS will establish and publish a deadline by which all port workers at that port will thereafter be required to possess a TWIC for unescorted access.

    While developing the regulation for TWIC in the summer and fall of 2006, TSA completed name-based security threat assessments on port employees and longshoremen. These assessments were run against terrorist watch lists and immigration data sets were an interim measure and did not include the criminal history records check that will be a part of TWIC. The final rule is on TSA’s Web site at www.tsa.gov/twic and more info on port security is available at the USCG’s Homeport site, http://homeport.uscg.mil, by clicking on the Maritime Security link.



    ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE TWIC PROGRAM

    At 469 pages, the TWIC document that was released earlier this week by the DHS is too long to cover in the Wheelhouse Weekly, but here are some additional aspects of the TWIC program:

  • Required documentation – Applicants must provide the appropriate documents in order to verify their identity. Some of these include a US passport, drivers’ license, or US Certificate of Naturalization. The complete listing of required documents will be available on the TWIC website at www.tsa.gov/twic.
  • Enrollment process: Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to “pre-enroll” at the TWIC Web site. The convenience of pre-enrollment reduces waiting time at the enrollment centers. Although applicants may schedule an appointment to complete enrollment at an enrollment center, appointments are not required. At the enrollment center, pre-enrolled applicants must provide documents to verify their identity, confirm the accuracy of pre-enrollment information, provide biometric information (a full set of fingerprints and a facial photograph), and sign the enrollment documents. Applicants who did not pre-enroll will also need to provide biographic information. All applicants will receive a privacy notice and consent form, by which they agree to provide personal information for the security threat assessment and credential. The enrollment process for a pre-enrolled applicant is expected to take approximately 10 minutes. The enrollment process for an individual who chose not to pre-enroll is expected to take approximately 15 minutes.
  • Security threat assessment: The assessment includes a criminal history records, a check against terrorist watch lists and an immigration status. If no adverse information is disclosed, TSA typically completes a security threat assessment in less than 10 days. However, processing time increases for an applicant with a criminal history or other disqualifying information, and is further lengthened if the applicant initiates an appeal or waiver.
  • New Direct Hires: TSA and the Coast Guard have added a provision in the TWIC Final Rule to allow owners and operators to give new directly hired employees limited access to secure areas while their applications for a TWIC and security threat assessments are being processed. The newly hired employees must have completed a name-based terrorism check and the owners and operators must comply with additional requirements. By using the provision, the new employees may begin working without undue delay.
  • TWIC issuance: The applicant will be notified by email or phone, as indicated on their application, when his/her credential is available at the enrollment center. The applicant must return to the same enrollment center to pick up his/her TWIC. The TWIC will expire five years from the issue date.
  • TWIC help desk: When the enrollment contract is awarded, a toll-free TWIC help desk will provide service for merchant mariners, transportation workers, facility and vessel owners and operators, and others who require assistance related to the TWIC program. Assistance includes help for pre-enrollment; enrollment; and, lost, stolen, or damaged card reporting and credential replacement.
  • Rollout Schedule: The TWIC rollout plan will be posted to the TWIC web site at www.tsa.gov/twic. The deployment schedule will comply with the requirements in the SAFE Port Act in order of port priority as published in DHS’ Infrastructure Protection Program. Enrollment and compliance dates will be phased in by Captain of the Port (COTP) zone. Enrollment for the existing workforce should be completed within 18 months.


    MARAD’S WEB-BASED MARINER OUTREACH SYSTEM PICKS UP STEAM

    The US Maritime Administration’s recently launched Web-based Mariner Outreach System (MOS) is designed improve MARAD’s ability to contact mariners during a national sealift emergency. MOS is operated by MARAD as a service to mariners and improves the agency’s ability to communicate with them and to solicit feedback through questionnaires and surveys.

    Just six months old, MOS is gaining acceptance with the seafaring community. As of October 1, 2006, 25 percent of mariners with a valid US Merchant Mariner’s Document have consented to participate. The system provides mariners who agree to participate an opportunity to review their qualifications and sea service and update their contact information. MOS is user friendly and allows access by mariners from anywhere in the world through a secure website at: https://mos.marad.dot.gov. MOS also provides MARAD with a means of monitoring the availability of mariners.

    Anne Dougherty, a program analyst in MARAD’s Office of Sealift Support, said many of the mariners on file had previously consented to participate in an earlier tracking system before the MOS Internet portal was launched. She said that the program is picking up speed as 10 to 15 new mariners register each week. Dougherty says that’s not bad for a program that has no money to promote its existence and mainly depends on word-of-mouth.

    “We are working hard to get the word out and appreciate the incredible support we have received from the maritime labor unions and our industry partners. Our goal is to use MOS to better understand what is happening with the pool of United States mariners so we can work with our industry partners to identify and address the specific issues that have a negative impact on the mariner pool,” Dougherty says. For further info on the MOS contact the Office of Sealift Support at 202-366-3423.


    HORIZON LINES ELECTS FORMER SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION MINETA TO BOARD

    MM&P-contracted Horizon Lines announced last week that its Board of Directors has voted to elect former US Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta to the Board effective January 1, 2007. Mr. Mineta fills a vacancy created by the resignation from the Horizon Lines Board of Admiral James Holloway (USN-Retired), which is effective December 31, 2006. “Admiral Holloway has been an active contributor to our business planning and our fleet plans at Horizon Lines. We have been extremely fortunate to have had his insight and sage counsel since he joined the company’s Board in July, 2004,” said Charles G. (Chuck) Raymond, Chairman and CEO of Horizon Lines.

    Mr. Mineta, 75, is currently Vice Chairman of Hill & Knowlton, one of the world’s premier communications consultancies. His distinguished career includes 20 years in the US House of Representatives representing the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. He has also served as the chair of the National Civil Aviation Review Commission as well as serving in cabinet positions under the last two US presidents. Mr. Mineta joined the administration of President George W. Bush in January 2001 and was the longest serving Secretary of Transportation in the history of that cabinet post. He also served as US Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton. Prior to joining the Clinton Administration, he was vice president of Lockheed Martin.

    Mr. Raymond has worked closely with former Secretary Mineta, particularly from May 2001 through May 2004 during which period Mr. Raymond served as the inaugural Chair of the Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council. “Norm Mineta has a wealth of knowledge of our nation’s commercial opportunities as well as the strengths and opportunities in our national transportation system,” Mr. Raymond said. “He will be an invaluable source of energy and guidance as we look to the future.”

    “I am pleased to be able to work with Chuck Raymond, my fellow Horizon Lines board members and management to help the company address the future,” Mr. Mineta said. “As Secretary of Transportation I was keenly aware of the progress Horizon Lines has made since its separation from
    CSX Corporation in 2003. In my view Horizon Lines is the best in its class and is capable of filling a number of the needs of our national transportation system.”


    FORMER MARAD ACTING ADMINISTRATOR JAMIAN SELECTED AS MTLA AFFILIATE MEMBER

    Maritime Transport & Logistics Advisors (MTLA) has announced the addition of John Jamian, former Acting Maritime Administrator for the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration, to its select group of Affiliate Members. Currently serving as president of the Seaway Great Lakes Trade Association, Mr. Jamian is a partner in Jamian Fahmy, LLC, based in Washington, DC and Michigan, and has extensive experience in international transportation, trade development, and the maritime industry. At MARAD his responsibilities included promoting the environmentally sound integration of marine transportation with other modes of transportation, and with other ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes uses. He als co-managed the Maritime Security Program with the US Transportation Command the Department of Defense.


    MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

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


    AIS – Automatic Identification System: 3/23
    ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 1/16, 2/6, 3/6

    BRM Bridge Resource Management: 1/22, 2/19, 3/26
    BST – Basic Safety Training: 2/5, 3/12

    [CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
    CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 1/22
    CMM-ADVSTB – 1/29
    CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 2/12
    CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 2/5
    CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 1/8, 3/19
    CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 2/19
    CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management II (week 1): 2/26
    CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management II (week 2): 3/5
    Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 1/8, 2/5, 3/12
    Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/19
    Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 1/15, 2/12, 3/19
    CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 3/26
    CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 3/12

    CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 1/26

    CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 1/15

    FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 2/5, 3/12

    HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 1/8, 2/12

    MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 1/25, 3/22

    MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 1/13, 2/17, 3/3
    MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 1/8, 2/12, 2/26
    MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 1/8, 2/12, 2/26

    [MSC – Military Sealift Command]
    MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 1/20, 3/30
    MSC-DC (Damage Control): 1/18, 3/22
    MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training: 3/26
    MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 3/30 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

    ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 1/29, 3/26
    ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 1/15, 2/5, 3/5

    SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 1/22, 3/19
    SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 1/22, 2/19, 3/26
    SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 2/26
    SHS-EMR- BRMP-3- Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/19
    TPIC-DL – Tanker Person-In-Charge, Dangerous Liquids: 2/12


    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

    Winter – Spring 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)

    January 2007
    2-5 Mate Program Orientation Week
    8-26 TCNAV/CO – BEGIN JAN. ’07 AB TO MATE PROGRAM
    8-12 BST
    9-12 LFBT
    15-19 ARPA
    15-19 AB
    22-26 TPIC
    22-26 SHS EMR-5
    29-2 ROP
    29-2 MED PRO
    29-9 MED PIC
    29-9 GMDSS

    February 2007
    ARPA
    6th RADAR RENEWAL
    6-9 LFBT
    12-16 BST
    12-16 ENAV
    12-16 MED PRO
    12-14 SEC VCF
    19-23 ECDIS
    19-23 SHS BAS
    19-2 CNAV
    26-2 FF ADV
    26-2 ARPA
    26-9 SHS ADV

    March 2007
    5-6 SAR
    6-9 LFBT
    7-9 EP
    12-16 BST
    12-16 AB
    12-16 STB BAS
    12-16 ARPA
    19-23 CHS BAS
    19-23 SHS EMR-5
    19 RADAR RENEWAL
    GMDSS
    MED PRO
    ENAV
    SHS BAS

    For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

    PMI MERCHANDISE FOR SALE!!!

    High quality clothing embroidered with the NEW PMI log!.
    We can ship these items also! Acceptable forms of payment are check, credit card, money order, and exact cash.
    MEN’S WEAR: Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirt; Polo Shirt; Fleece Pullover; Hooded Sweatshirt; Windbreaker.
    WOMEN’S WEAR: Button-Down Blouse; Sport Polo; Snap-Front Shirt 3/4 Sleeve; Fleece Pullover; Fleece Front Zip
    ALSO: Navy and Stone Caps; 15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug.
    Call Laura Bendixen at 888-893-7829 or email her at TOtschko@mates.org for prices and ordering.


    MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 1-4

     

     D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
    12,480.69 -20.83 for the week 2,453.43 +27.86 for the week 1,418.34 -2.36 for the week
    Fund Name & Trading Symbol
    Closing
    Price
     Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
    130.61
     Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
    38.81
     Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
    23.97
     Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
    19.01
     Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
    34.79
     Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
    10.25
     Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
    6.23
     Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
    10.04
     Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
    18.94
     Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
    16.14
     Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
    31.14
     Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
    89.84
     Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
    21.05
     Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
    81.56
     Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
    50.19
     Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
    33.55

    .






    ~ 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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