News

Wheelhouse Weekly – July 16, 2007

July 16th 2007

 

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

Volume 11 . . . . . Number 28. . . .July 16, 2007

STORIES COVERED

Also

REMINDERS

T-AGS Oceanographic Survey Ships Info

Required Coursework

Security Clearances

MSC Physicals

MM&P Health & Benefit Plan News

Notice to Members who are taking Vioxx

NMHC Mail-Order Prescriptions Website Updated & Improved

WWII USCG Veterans Outreach

Company Gives Bucks Back for buying Safe Shoes

Website Offers Union-Made Goods and Services




Did you miss a week? Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the section.


MM&P TESTIFIES AGAIN BEFORE CONGRESS REGARDING TWIC

MM&P has again presented testimony to Congress about the serious problems that beset the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) program.
On July 12, MM&P told members of the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure that TWIC must preempt local access control schemes, not overlay them. “Unless the federal government acts to ensure that the TWIC program will preempt state and local programs, the maritime workforce and America’s maritime transportation system will be adversely affected without any additional security benefits for our nation,” said Mike Rodriguez, Executive Assistant to MM&P International President Tim Brown, who testified on the union’s behalf.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has now postponed the enrollment phase of the program, originally scheduled for July, until sometime in the fall. There has been no word yet about whether the government will allow mariners more time to actually obtain a TWIC. The deadline for getting a TWIC is still set at Sept. 25, 2008, although calls for the agency to delay the deadline have been steadily increasing in view of the controversy and delays.

“Maritime workers are a mobile workforce, continually in transit,” the union told the members of the subcommittee. “If the TWIC regulations allow each state, port and facility to develop their own unique access control systems in addition to what the federal government deems necessary, then the TWIC program will become an unjustifiably burdensome and costly administrative impediment to the efficient flow of commerce.”

Subcommittee members from both political parties chastised the Administration during the hearing for the series of problems and delays that have beset the TWIC program. “TSA has gotten so very little right so far that I’m concerned that the people in the real world who are going to have to live with this card are going to have some very great obstacles to overcome,” said Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.).

“It’s frustrating that we’re five years from enactment of [the law mandating TWIC] and we still don’t have a card,” said Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) “Extremely frustrated doesn’t quite go far enough to describe how I feel,” LoBiondo agreed.

Speaking on the Bush Administration’s behalf at the hearing was TSA’s Maurine Fanguy, who directs the TWIC program. Rear Adm. Brian Salerno of the USCG also testified. Fanguy said the numerous delays in implementation of the TWIC card were due in part to TSA’s desire to “be in alignment with the latest and greatest that America has to offer in terms of technology.”

MM&P has countered that one of the reasons the TWIC program is falling so far behind lies with the policy decision to use the unproven FIPS-201 standard for the biometric identity cards, rather than the widely used and internationally recognized International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards, which are used, for example, on electronic passports.

Businesspeople testifying at the July 12 hearing said TWIC could severely affect their operations. The president of a small Annapolis, Md.-based company that offers tourist cruises on the Chesapeake Bay says the college students on summer break who work as deck hands on her vessels will choose other jobs rather than go through the hassle of getting a TWIC card. “They cannot apply for summer employment and then wait 30 days for an ID card to be issued,” said Debbie Gosselin of Chesapeake Marine Tours. Other witnesses and some legislators expressed concern about a requirement that painters, construction workers and others doing maintenance projects in ports either carry a TWIC, be constantly escorted by a TWIC-holder or work in an enclosed, fenced off area of the facility.

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) chastised TSA for contracting out the TWIC program to Lockheed Martin, the company embroiled in controversy over the USCG’s Deepwater fleet renovation. “The folks you hired to do this are the same ones who didn’t think you needed waterproof radios, waterproof radar or waterproof GPS on the exposed bridge of your 110-ft cutters,” he told Fanguy and Salerno.  

Cummings told the government witnesses he was going to call them back in 90 days for an update on the TWIC program. He asked other witnesses at the hearing, including MM&P, to provide information to the subcommittee on how Congress could intervene to “fix” the TWIC program at this point.


CONGRESS SHOULD INVESTIGATE USCG ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE PROGRAM, MM&P PRESIDENT SAYS

MM&P International President Tim Brown has encouraged Congressman Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, to move forward with a plan to hold hearings on published allegations of improprieties in the U.S. Coast Guard’s administrative law judge (ALJ) program. Brown made his request in the context of a letter to the editor of The Baltimore Sun. 

The allegations at the root of the controversy were made in a detailed piece of investigative journalism, published under the heading “Justice Capsized,” in the June 24 issue of The Baltimore Sun. The article was written by one of the newspapers staff reporters, Robert Little. The Sun published an editorial on the same topic, “A Listing Court,” in its June 26 edition.

The thrust of the article and editorial was that many of the USCG ALJs take the Coast Guard’s side as a matter of course in cases against mariners. Much of the article was based on a sworn statement given by Jeffie J. Massey, who worked until recently as a USCG administrative law judge. Massey, who reports she was pressured into retiring from the Coast Guard, said that she was instructed by Chief Judge Joseph N. Ingolia not to act as a judge but rather as a tool to assure rulings favorable to the USCG. “I was specifically told [by Ingolia] that I should always rule for the Coast Guard,” she said in her statement.

Fallout from the news report has spread quickly throughout the maritime community and beyond. Cummings said he will convene a hearing to investigate the allegations that the ALJ system is not impartial.

In response, the Coast Guard issued a carefully worded press release which stated in essence that the article in the Sun “emphasizes statistics that may leave readers with an erroneous impression.” USCG Rear Adm. Mary E. Landry presented different statistics, in defense of the ALJ program, in a letter to the editor of The Sun.

But “Landry’s letter missed an essential point,” the MM&P International President responded in his own letter. “It was as though she were saying: ‘The TITANIC sank, but she did have some nice deck chairs that remained afloat.’

“Landry… defends the ALJ system against the allegations made in the article simply by citing an array of statistics,” said Brown. “In this egregious case, hyping statistics is nothing more than arranging deck chairs…. Our nation’s merchant mariners, like all other Americans, expect that public officials will respect their rights.”


 

U.K. AND DUTCH OFFICERS’ UNIONS ANNOUNCE DETAILS OF THEIR FUTURE MERGED ORGANIZATION

Nautilus, the federation of British and Dutch licensed officers unions, has proposed an organizational structure to serve as the foundation for a fully merged union. The organizational proposal will be presented to members of Nautilus UK and Nautilus NL later this year for final vote. If carried out, the merger will, by 2009, position Nautilus to influence workers’ policy for ships’ officers in the global market.

“This is a great step forward when licensed officers from two national unions unite to address regulatory issues and relationships with corporations on a global basis as opposed to a national basis,” says MM&P Pacific Ports Vice President Don Marcus.  “Nautilus will serve as a model for how officers from all crafts, deck and engine, and across national boundaries, can combine to protect and enhance their job security, improve working conditions and deal effectively with multi-national employers. It also points the way towards what needs to happen on a national basis here in the United States among competing licensed officer organizations.”

Nautilus NL and Nautilus UK expect to form one union, with one general secretary and two branches—one for each country. Each branch will have autonomy over domestic policy issues but will come together for international issues, including targeting problematic multinational employers. The union will be governed by the General Meeting of Nautilus, open to a fixed number of members allocated according to craft (deck, engine, etc.) from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Each country will nominate members to sit on the Council of Nautilus, but the entire membership must vote for their election. Two separate national committees — one for each country — will feed into the Council.


NOTICE TO MM&P HEALTH & BENEFIT PLAN PARTICIPANTS

As you know, MM&P Health & Benefit Plan members have a new prescription benefit manager, PharmaCare. When you first obtain a prescription at your retail drug store, please show your new Health & Benefit Identification Card with PharmaCare’s information. If you do not show your card, please inform your pharmacist of the following information so you can receive your prescriptions through the Plan. Your identification number HAS NOT CHANGED. Please provide the pharmacist with your full member identification number. You will have to also provide the following numbers. RxGrp#- Z50136968, RxBin: 610468 and RxPCN: PC2 

If your pharmacist has any questions, he or she should call PharmaCare directly at (800) 503-3241.  If you have any questions, PharmaCare members can call the company directly at (888) 364-6815.


USCG COMMANDANT SAYS HE WOULD OPPOSE ANY LEGISLATION THAT WOULD TRANSFER MARITIME SAFETY DUTIES TO ANOTHER AGENCY

In an internal memo to senior USCG field commanders that was later authorized for release to the press, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen says that any potential legislation that would shift to another department the USCG’s maritime safety duties and authority “is not in the best interest of the Coast Guard or the nation.” Although no specific legislation on the topic has been introduced in Congress, a recent article in Tradewinds reported that such a bill might be under consideration. Allen said he was “working with Congress to ensure we maintain our current maritime safety duties and authorities.”


NO MAJOR DAMAGE FROM MASSACHUSETTS COMMUTER FERRY COLLISION

Visibility was poor when two Boston commuter ferries, the MASSACHUSETTS and the LAURA, collided in Boston Harbor July 10 at about 7:30 a.m. There were no reports of serious injuries or pollution. The MASSACHUSETTS, with 151 people aboard, was reportedly inbound to Rowes Wharf. The LAURA, a 101-foot vessel with four people aboard, was outbound from Boston Harbor. After the collision, both vessels returned safely to their home ports and were temporarily removed from service. Neither vessel took on water, although both experienced some damage above the water line. Conditions were foggy when the collision occurred. The vessels, which are privately owned, were fitted with radar and GPS, but it is not clear whether the systems were operating at the time.



SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN OF OFFSHORE MEMBERS

The Plan Office would like to remind Offshore members and co-pay pensioners in good standing who are eligible participants in the Health & Benefit Plan of the existence of the Offshore Scholarship Program. The 2008-09 Scholarship Program is for eligible dependent children who will be high school seniors in the 2007-08 school year. If seniors would like to apply for the scholarship, the deadline to file an application with the Plan Office is Nov. 30, 2007. Please contact the Plan Office to request an application packet.  


FEW INTERNATIONAL SEAFARERS GET SHORE LEAVE

More than half of the international seafarers surveyed in a recent study said they were given no shore leave at all during an eight-week contract—and many of those who did get shore leave were not able to avail themselves of it because they didn’t have enough time to get through security and back. The study, commissioned by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), surveyed 4,000 seafarers of different nationalities and ranks, using a mixture of interviews, focus groups and questionnaires. The sample was selected in such a way as to mirror the composition of the world’s shipping fleet.

According to the survey, fewer and fewer seafarers are visiting shoreside seamen’s service centers because they can’t leave the port area. Shore leave has been drastically reduced. Sixty-four percent of seafarers surveyed said they had no shore leave at all during the typical eight-week assignment. Those who did get shore leave under their contracts were only given about two hours, barely enough time to get through security. Some said when they try to leave the port area, shuttles to take them into town often arrive late or don’t  show up at all. “The loss of shore leave, more than anything else, has brought us to a world where the accommodation and services offered in seafarers’ centers must now be supplemented by a raft of new types of support,” said Tom Holmer of the ITF.

Ship-to-shore communications emerged as another critical area, with most seafarers saying they were not allowed to use e-mail on board their ships.


JOBS AVAILABLE ON THE GREAT LAKES

MM&P Great Lakes and Rivers Representative Charlie Malue reports that numerous jobs are available on the Great Lakes for licensed mates with pilotage, engineers, QMEDS and able-bodied seamen. Retirees are also encouraged to apply for these jobs. The rules of the MM&P Pension Plan allow pensioners to accept without penalty employment–other than Covered Employment–aboard vessels covered by collective bargaining agreements with MM&P membership groups, on condition that the employment is first approved by the Organization. Interested parties should call Charlie Malue at 216-776-1667 or e-mail him at cmalue@bridgedeck.org.


MITAGS OPENINGS FOR SHIP SIMULATOR OPERATORS

The Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies (MITAGS) is seeking two part-time operators for its full-mission ship simulator. This is an ideal opportunity for computer-savvy MM&P members who know how to maneuver ships in a variety of situations and environments. Applicants should enjoy computer gaming, be creative and have demonstrated the ability to master computer programs. These are ideal positions for MM&P members who want to alternate between shipboard deployments and teaching. Excellent communications and computer skills are a must. E-mail resume to hr@mitags.org or fax to HR Manager at (443) 989-3341. 


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

If you are unable to attend your scheduled class, you can contact MITAGS 24 hours a day using voice mail, e-mail or the manned switchboard. Most CMM courses run full with a standby list. A “no show” denies members on standby the opportunity to take the course. It also deprives MITAGS of revenue.  Take a minute of your time to cancel your course and support MITAGS continuing commitment to providing you with world-class training and comfortable accommodations.   

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

AIS – Automatic Identification System: 8/3
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 7/24, 8/28

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

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX � Advanced Meteorology: 8/27
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 7/30
CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management (week 2): 7/23
CMM-SHS-ADV-II-Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 8/27
CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 8/6

FF-BADV � Combined Basic & Advanced Fire Fighting: 8/13

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5-day): 7/23

LAP – License Advancement Program: 7/23
LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage(Evening): 8/1

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 7/28
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge:  7/23
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 7/23

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 – Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation: 7/21
MSC-DC – Damage Control: 7/19
MSC-SMA – Small Arms Training: 8/13
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 8/17 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 7/23, 7/30, 8/27
ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original or Renewal (5 days): 8/6

SHS-EMR5 � Emergency Shiphandling: 7/30

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

Summer – Fall 2007

Due to the high demand for this program, PMI has now scheduled another that is already close to full enrollment for its 2007-start date. See the PMI Web site at www.mates.org for more info on this new development.

FOR REGISTRATION CALL JENNIFER FOWLER: 206 838-1126

SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at www.mates.org)

July 2007
16-20 MED PRO
16-20 ENAV
23rd     RADAR RENEWAL
23-27  SHS BAS
23-3    CNAV
30-3   ARPA
30-3   MED PRO
30-10 MED PIC      

August 2007
6-7      SAR
6-10    BST
7-10    LFBT
8-10    EP
14-17  LFBT
13-17  AB
13-17  CONSTB
13-17  SHS EM5
13-17  ECDIS
13-17  TPIC
20-24 AB
20-31 SHS ADV
20-24 CHS BAS
27-31  BAFF
27-31  ENAV
27-31  MED PRO
27-8    GMDSS
27-29  CSO/SSO

September 2007
4-7      LFBT
4-8      WX BAS
4-8      TCNAV
10th    RADAR RENEWAL
10-14  BST
10-14  AB
10-14  MED PRO
10-14  TCNAV
10-14  SHS BAS
17-21  MED PRO
17-21  ARPA
17-21  SHS BAS
17-21  TCNAV
17-28  GMDSS
19-21  AFF
24-5    WKP
24-28 ROP
26-28 AFF

October 2007

1-3      BRM
1-5      ARPA
2-5      LFBT
2-5      AFF
8-19    GMDSS
8-12    SHS EM5
8-12    BST
8-12    AB
15-19  ECDIS           
15-19  MED PRO
15-26  MED PIC
17-19  SEC VCF
15-19  BAFF
22        FL
23-24 SHS ASSESS
25-26 SHS ASSESS
29-2    TPIC
29-9    SHS ADV

November 2007
5-16    SHS ADV
6-9      LFBT
13        ROR
12-16  BST
12-16  AB
13-15  SEC VCF
26-7    GMDSS
26-30 ROP
26-30 MED PRO
26-30 SHS BAS

December 2007
3-7      ARPA
3-7      SHS EM5
3-7      BAFF
3-14    CNAV
4-7      LFBT
11        ROR   
10-14  BST
10-14  AB
17-21  ENAV
17-19  SEC VCF
17-21  ARPA
17-21  TPIC
17-21  SHS BAS

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

PMI MERCHANDISE FOR SALE!!!

High-quality clothing embroidered with the NEW PMI logo! We can ship these items also! Acceptable forms of payment are check, credit card, money order and exact cash. Call Laura Bendixen at 888-893-7829 for prices and to order. If we don’t have your size, we’ll be glad to special order for you at no extra cost.


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 7-13-2007

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
13,907.25 2,707 1,552.5
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard Asset Allocation Fund(VAARX)
69.97
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
143.05
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
43.76
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
27.90
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
21.56
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
38.67
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
9.98
 Vanguard Growth Index Fund (VIGRX)
33.20
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate (VWEHX)
6.07
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Conservative Growth (VSCGX)
17.32
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Growth Fund (VASGX)
25.80
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Fund (VASIX)
26.13
 Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth (VSMGX)
21.74
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2005 (VTOVX)
12.15
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2015 (VTXVX)
13.46
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2025 (VTTVX)
14.32
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 (VTTHX)
15.40
 Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX)
15.90
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
9.79
 Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
37.56
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
20.67
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
17.06
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
34.23
 Fidelity Intermediate bond Fund (FTHRX)
10.11
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
97.91
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
25.24
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
92.33
 Fidelity Equity-Income II Fund (FEQTX)
25.66
 Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund (FBGRX)
49.11
 Fidelity Diversified International Fund (FDIVX)
42.74
 Fidelity Dividend Growth Fund (FDGFX)
34.58
 Fidelity Freedom Income (FFFAX)
11.72
 Fidelity Freedom 2000 (FFFBX)
12.84
 Fidelity Freedom 2010 (FFFCX)
16.38
 Fidelity Freedom 2020 (FFFDX)
16.59
 Fidelity Freedom 2030 (FFFEX)
17.37
 Fidelity Freedom 2040 (FFFFX)
10.31
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
54.96
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
36.62

 

.






~ 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 Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@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 Lisa Rosenthal at lrosenthal@bridgedeck.org.

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