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Wheelhouse Weekly – July 28, 2000

July 28th 2000


MASTER AND MMP MEMBERS ABOARD AND INTERESTED PERSONS THE MASTERS, MATES AND PILOTS’ — WHEELHOUSE WEEKLY

Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

VOLUME 4. . . . . NUMBER 30. . . July 28, 2000

STORIES COVERED



MATSON CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS BEGIN IN SAN FRANCISCO

The first round of contract renewal negotiations between MM&P and Matson Navigation took place in San Francisco this week. The MM&P negotiating team of Union officials and rank-and-file members was led by International President Capt. Tim Brown. Initial proposals by the Union and the Company were put on the table on Wed., July 26. The next round of talks are set for August 8 at MM&P HQ.

In a presentation to the delegates at the recently concluded 78th MM&P Convention, Capt. Jack Sullivan, Matson’s Director of Vessel Operations and Labor Relations, made the following points that were considered the opening salvo for this year’s negotiations:

The company operates a 14-vessel fleet at an average age of 24-years. Matson is evaluating its options with regard to a fleet replacement program.

A future concern is the recent announcement by Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines (PHTL) that it has signed a contract to build a Pure Car and Truck Carrier for the Hawaii Service in a joint venture with Van Ommeren (USA). The 565-foot ship, scheduled for delivery in the fall of 2002, will have the capacity to carry 4,000 vehicles. The target market is automobiles, buses, trucks, other large and oversize Ro/Ro cargo and military household goods. Today Matson carries much of this cargo.

A new competitor would likely result in major decreases in Matson freight volume. In addition, Sullivan stated, a new vessel will likely have lower operating and labor costs, both shoreside and at sea.

In discussing Matson’s Pacific Coast Service which offers weekly service between Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver, BC, Sullivan said, “Labor costs, combined with ancillary services of pilots, tugs, fuel, stores and all of the other maintenance and service items associated with a coastwise service, have kept operating costs relatively high.” Since the service’s inception, Matson has generated revenues of over $117 million, but “paid nearly $62 million – more than half of our total revenues – in labor costs alone, with $31 million going to ILWU personnel for cargo processing and $30.5 million to our offshore unions.

Clearly our experience to date would not justify any significant capital expenditure associated with this level of return,” Capt. Sullivan said.

“So what is Matson going to do about replacing its aging fleet? Hopefully, by this point, I have made it clear that this is not an easy – or simple – question to answer. In order to sell a vessel acquisition program to our Board of Directors, we need to be able to confidently tell them that Matson can generate better returns investing in ships than putting the money in T-bills and earning a risk-free 6 percent. We were able to do that in 1996, when Matson handed APL a check for $171 million for 6 of their container ships.”

“However, going forward, we need to explain how these vessels fit into our overall transportation and logistics services strategy. While some program needs to be developed, building new ships might not be the best answer. Chartering or purchasing existing vessels qualified to operate in domestic trades may be a better option. Building on current alliances with other carriers is also a possibility,” Sullivan concluded.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


MM&P MEMBERS TESTIFY BEFORE HOUSE PANEL FOR FAIR TAXATION

Last week, the Commercial and Administrative Law Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Commission heard from three witnesses, including two MM&P members, in support for H.R.1293, the “Transportation Employee Fair Taxation Act”, which would exempt interstate waterway workers from multiple taxation by allowing only the interstate water worker’s state of residence to impose taxes on income earned in the course of employment. The House bill was introduced by Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), who was the other witness at the hearing. In the Senate, a similar bill (S.893) was introduced by Sen. Slade Gorton (R-WA).

In his opening comments, subcommittee chairman Rep. George W. Gekas (R-PA), noted in part: “Interstate transportation workers derive their income in multiple states in the course of regularly assigned duties. They are thus subject to multiple taxes in multiple states. Over the years, Congress has attempted to remedy the taxing complexities faced by interstate transportation workers. Through a patchwork of legislation spanning nearly three decades, the Congress has exempted interstate rail, motor and air carriers from multiple state income taxation by making the income of these workers taxable only in the worker’s state of residence. While these workers have escaped the onerous burden of multiple state income filings, Congress has failed to provide relief from multiple taxation to interstate water workers.”

Capt. Mike Simonsen, MM&P’s International Representative, also expressed strong support for the bill. Reiterating the fact that water transportation workers are the only interstate transportation worker segment subject to taxation by states other than the states in which they reside, Simonsen said that “there is no rational basis for this inequitable tax policy and discriminatory tax treatment of water transportation workers.”

 


At right, Capt. Chris Eckhardt, Representative Brian Baird (D-WA) and MM&P’s International Representative, Capt. Mike Simonsen paused for a photo outside of Rep. Baird’s office following the hearing.

 

He went on to say that water transportation workers should not be singled out and faced with a tax burden that no other interstate transportation worker has to pay. He advised the subcommittee of MM&P’s unanimous adoption of a resolution in support of H.R.1293 (and its companion bill, S. 893) during the MMP’s 78th Convention. Also appearing at the hearing was Capt. Chris Eckardt of the MM&P’s Pacific Maritime Region.

Capt. Eckardt appeared alongside Rep. Baird. Eckardt, who resides in Washington state, is employed by Shaver Transportation and is the subject of an attempt by the state of Oregon to collect in excess of $27,500 in alleged back taxes and penalties during a four year period. He said that the initial collection notice appeared with no prior warning or attempts at collection. Capt. Eckardt testified that:

“the Oregon Department of Revenue has no set rules for assessing tax on waterway workers who live in another state; therefore, the opinion of the caseworker assigned seems to be the current rule. The first person said all my income was subject to Oregon income tax. The next person assigned to me said half of my income was subject to Oregon income tax and my tax bill was reduced to just over $13,000. The person now assigned to my case states [no work performed] above the Interstate 5 bridge is subject to income tax… I have had to seek counsel from an attorney, and hire an accountant as well, in trying to resolve this issue. The Oregon Department of Revenue has filed liens against me even though I am working with them and have retained an accountant trying to resolve this issue.”

Eckardt testified that “many of my coworkers who live outside Oregon have received notices from the Oregon Department of Revenue claiming tax liability…”

Three other MM&P-PMR members submitted statements for the record. They indicated that the initial notices they received were all stamped “Second Request”. According to their testimony, the tax liabilities claimed by Oregon against them ranged from a low of $5,700 to a massive $78,000 claim, with the promise of more to come.

Rep. Baird, who crafted the legislation, stated that “this is about fairness. River pilots, officers and other crew members perform most of their work on rivers which course through multiple states. In some cases, these workers are subject to taxation by several states. For other transportation employees such as truck drivers, railway workers, and aviation employees, Congress grants an exemption from double- or triple-taxation. Not so for waterway employees. If you’re a crew member on a barge, you can be required to pay taxes in several states. That is simply not fair.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


WEATHER SERVICE DIRECTOR TO VISIT MITAGS ON AUG.8

Dr. Louis Uccellini, Director of the National Centers of Environmental Prediction (NCEP) will be visiting MITAGS on Aug.8. He is the third highest ranking official in the National Weather Service (NWS), and this marks his first visit to MITAGS.

With the first wave of tropical storms already lighting up radar screens in the Atlantic and Pacific, this is an excellent opportunity for MM&P members to raise any issues, questions or concerns regarding the NWS’s Marine Prediction Center (MPC) which provides mariners with graphics (HS SSB) and text (HSF) weather forecasts. An example question might be, “When is the MPC going to provide 6-10 day forecasts?”

Comments and questions should be sent to Michael Carr at MITAGS at: Voice: 410-859-5700 ext 3254 or direct: 443-989-3254; Fax: 410-859-5181; or Email: mcarr@mitags.org.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


BALANCE OF RESOLUTIONS PASSED AT 78TH MM&P CONVENTION

Last week’s issue of the Wheelhouse Weekly included the following resolutions that were passed at the convention: Resolution 3: Representation on Local Labor Councils; Resolution 4: Re-entry of AMO into the AFL-CIO; Resolution 5: Establishing a Members Only Interactive Bulletin Board on the Internet; Resolution 6: Right of IOMM&P Employees to Organize; Resolution 8: Reaffirmation of the IOMM&P’s Commitment to the Principles of Unionism and Repudiating the Practices of Non-AFL-CIO Affiliated Maritime Manning Agencies; Resolution 9: Maritime Tax Policy; Resolution 10: In Appreciation of Congressman Herb Bateman; Resolution 11: Protection of Seamen Against Economic Reprisal Act of 1999.

The following are the rest of the resolutions that were passed at the convention:

Resolution 12: Political Action. Delegates to the 78th MM&P Convention reaffirmed support for the MM&P Political Contribution Fund, thanks those who consistently support the PCF, and thanks the ILA for their legislative and political efforts in support of the MM&P. Delegates further resolved that each MM&P official should educate the membership of each membership group about the importance of the PCF to help achieve greater support for the PCF, and that officials should encourage members to participate
in the political process. The delegates further resolved to urge each member to become a registered voter and to vote in the 2000 elections in order to keep our supporters in office and our opponents out of office. The delegates also resolved that the MM&P explore conducting annual legislative educational workshops for MM&P members and pensioners.

Resolution 13: Support Full Funding for the Maritime Security Program. MM&P reaffirms its strong support for the full funding and implementation of the Maritime Security Program and calls on Congress and the Administration to work with the maritime industry to extend, expand and update the MSP.

Resolution 14: Jones Act. Strong support for the Jones Act was reaffirmed, as is MM&P’s vigorous opposition to all efforts to repeal or weaken the statute.

Resolution 15: Revitalizing the Domestic Cruise Industry. MM&P is committed to the development of a US-flag cruise vessel fleet and urges the enactment of promotional and tax legislation which results in the operation of US-built, US-owned, US-flag and US citizen crewed cruise ships between American ports.

Resolution 16: Fair Taxation of Water Transportation Employees. MM&P supports the enactment of legislation such as HR 1293/S.893, which will eliminate discriminatory tax treatment of interstate water transportation workers.

Resolution 17: Army Corps of Engineers Minimum Dredge Fleet. MM&P calls on the US Army Corps of Engineers to fulfill its obligations under Public Law 95-269 to provide for the full utilization of its Minimum Dredge Fleet and the crews aboard that fleet. The MM&P strongly opposes any further cuts in the Minimum Dredge Fleet and any attempts to reduce or lay up the Corps’ hopper dredge. Further, the MM&P will closely monitor the status of the US DREDGE WHEELER and make every effort to have it returned to fully-manned active status.

Resolution 18: Labor Law Reform. MM&P will continue to fight for justice in the workplace and will continue to fight for the economic security of all working families.

Resolution 19: Protection of Professional Personnel. MM&P will work with other affected unions and with the AFL-CIO in support of legislation to protect the rights of shipboard personnel and professionals to engage in concerted activity as provided and protected under the National Labor Relations Act.

Resolution From the Floor: Maritime Academy Support and Original License Program. Delegates voiced their support of the MM&P program of visiting the maritime academies to encourage graduates to join the MM&P and to help the academies protect their programs. The delegates further stated their support of an original license program and other programs to reach out to unlicensed MM&P members, and to work in conjunction with the Sailors Union of the Pacific, to establish a seafaring career path leading into the licensed ranks of the MM&P.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


MITAGS HAS THE FOLLOWING COURSE OPENINGS

  • 7/31-8/04: BST; BRM; TTT
  • 7/31-8/11: SHS
  • 8/05: 1-DAY RENEWAL
  • 8/07-11: GMDSS-REF; COMP-OPSYS
  • 8/07: ROR 1-DAY RENEWAL
  • 8/12: CBRD 1-DAY
  • 8/14-18: VPM; COMP-APS
  • 8/16: CPR
  • 8/28-9/01: EINS; SHS-BAS
  • 8/30 NIGHT HAZMAT
  • 9/05-08: SMALL ARMS
  • 9/11-15: MED-1st; BST; GMDSS-REF; COMP-APS
  • 9/16 CBRD-1 DAY
  • 9/18-22: TPIC; COMP-NET
  • 9/18-09/29: GMDSS
  • 9/20: CPR 1-DAY
  • 9/25-9/29: FF-ADV; BRM; ROP; EINS
  • 9/30: ROR 1-DAY
  • 9/25 to 10/27: LAP

For an application or for further info, check the MITAGS website at www.mitags.org or contact: Mary Matlock, MITAGS Admissions, Voice: 410-859-5700 ext. 3246; Fax: 410-859-5181; Email: admissions@mitags.org.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 7-27

We have received requests from members at sea to include the Dow Jones Industrial Average and NASDAQ Composite Index closing numbers for the week. Since the Wheelhouse Weekly is usually distributed before the markets close on Friday, the numbers cited will be from Thursday’s close unless otherwise specified.

 DOW

 10,586.13

-257.74 for the week

 NASDAQ

 3,842.23

-342.33 for the week

We have also received requests to list the following five funds that are representative of many members’ IRAP holdings in Vanguard Mutual Funds. Space limitations preclude listing additional funds at this time. In future weeks, the change up or down for the week will also be indicated for the stock averages quoted above and the mutual funds listed below:

 Vanguard 500 Index Fund

 138.87

+0.87 for the week

 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund

35.64

-2.68 for the week

 Vanguard International Growth Fund

22.67

-0.51 for the week

 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund

22.51

-1.28 for the week

 Vanguard Windsor II Fund

23.79

-0.32 for the week

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is being produced under MM&P election guidelines which have been previously published and may be found in their entirety on the MM&P website. The 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 contact John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org. 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 under “News” at: http://www.bridgedeck.org.

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