Wheelhouse Weekly – June 30, 2015

Volume 20 . . . Number 26. . . June 30, 2015


In this issue:



News for MM&P Members:

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IAll MM&P union halls, the MM&P Plan Office, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Friday, July 3, for Independence Day. Pacific Ports will also be closed on Monday, July 6, for the ILWU holiday Bloody Thursday, in memory of the union members who were shot and killed during the 1934 maritime strike.

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President Obama Monday signed legislation giving him enhanced power to negotiate major trade agreements with Asia and Europe. The measure, known as “fast track,” was opposed by labor unions, environmental and consumer rights groups, as well as by many Congressional Democrats.

Fast-track authority guarantees that any U.S. trade agreements negotiated over the next six years cannot be amended or filibustered in Congress, but only subjected to an up or down vote. Passage of fast track does not guarantee completion of the trade pacts themselves.

Opponents of fast track predict the two trade pacts now being negotiated will lead to significant job losses in the United States, especially among manufacturing workers. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1993, trade agreements have sent millions of high-paying manufacturing jobs overseas while depressing wages at home. This explains the tremendous resources that labor and allied groups brought to bear in the most recent fight.

“We may have lost this battle, but… the labor movement has brought together a multitude of constituency-based groups that will enable us to win the war being waged against American workers,” International Longshoremen’s Association President Harold Daggett wrote AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka after Friday’s vote. “The cohesive strategy to fight this legislation has made a lot of people stand up and recognize that the labor movement is not dying, but, rather, is thriving and clearly represents the only vestige for social change.”

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Congress left Washington last week without renewing the charter of the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The bank helps finance the export of American goods and services from companies throughout the country. It is important to the maritime industry because a percentage of the products exported with Export-Import Bank financing must be shipped on U.S.-flag commercial vessels, providing a significant source of cargo for our fleet. For 70 years, the bank has always been reauthorized on a bipartisan basis. But on midnight tonight, primarily because of an attack by Tea Party Republicans, it will lose its authority to extend new taxpayer-backed loans to foreign purchasers of U.S. goods sold abroad.

Congressional Democrats and many Republicans are determined to ensure the bank can continue to operate. A large majority of lawmakers appear to believe the bank should continue its work and its supporters in both parties are hoping to overcome the opposition. “This is the one thing that unites business and labor, Democrats, Republicans and independents,” says Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). Those who oppose the bank, he says, are “a small but very, very determined few.”

In the Senate, there appears to be a filibuster-proof majority supporting the bank’s extension. Sixty-five senators voted in support of the bank in a June 10 test vote. Prospects in the House are less clear—though there, too, enough Republicans are thought to be willing to join with Democrats to renew the bank’s charter. When the bank was last reauthorized, in 2012, a solid majority of House Republicans supported it, joining a unanimous bloc of Democrats in a vote of 330 to 93. Bank supporters cite 2014 statistics showing Ex-Im loans supporting $27.5 billion worth of exports and 164,000 U.S. jobs.

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A bill that would task the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) with compiling metrics on “port performance” before and during maritime labor negotiations is part of an ongoing effort to “diminish or eliminate” the bargaining rights of maritime labor, says the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD).

In a June 23 letter to leaders of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, TTD President Ed Wytkind said the bill, the Port Performance Act, calls for misusing statistics “to tilt the balance against port workers in collective bargaining disputes…” Wytkind said the bill is part of a campaign aimed at compromising the bargaining rights of maritime and longshore workers.

Earlier this month, TTD and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) pointed to another pending bill that would authorize state governors to trigger federal “back-to-work” injunctions in port labor disputes and give the president power to intervene to halt work slowdowns. It would expand the Taft-Hartley Act to cover slowdowns and also allow a governor to direct the state attorney general to seek a federal court injunction against slowdowns, strikes or lockouts. ILWU spokesperson Craig Merrilees called that bill “an extreme piece of anti-worker legislation.”

The “port performance” bill, on the other hand, would task a DOT unit with creating new, standardized metrics of port productivity. Wytkind said that in principle, transportation labor does not reject the idea of collecting data for analysis. He said, however, that the new bill “would inject the agency into labor-management relations, setting a damaging precedent that also threatens the utility of statistical collection in other modes under DOT supervision.”

Section 4 of the metrics bill would require DOT to report on a port’s productivity before and after the expiration of a maritime labor agreement.

“The goal of this provision is clear,” Wytkind said, “to set the stage for early and improper federal intervention into the bargaining process and to blame any reduction in port productivity on employees.”

He said the bill “ignores the innumerable variables that affect port productivity that have nothing to do with unions or collective bargaining, including the rapid increase in larger ships, outmoded landside infrastructure, the state of the economy, the availability of chassis, and the inability of the owner-operator trucking model to meet cargo demand.”

“Under this bill,” he added, “the collective bargaining process would bear responsibility for all problems related to productivity absent any justification or consideration of the complicated nature of port logistics networks.”

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July 4 is the most patriotic day of the year. What is more patriotic than throwing an Independence Day party using American-made, union-made products?!

Gathering family and friends around the grill before you enjoy fireworks this weekend? While shopping for your USA label red-white-and-blue outfit, make sure you grab some union-made products for your grilling and drink needs. Labor 411 gives some great advice for keeping our bellies full.

Blue Moon, Shock Top and Summer Shandy are refreshing summer beers. Wishing for a cool cocktail? How about a maple bacon Manhattan? Two jiggers of your favorite union-made bourbon, 1/2 oz sweet vermouth (Lejon, Tribunal), ½ oz grade B maple syrup, 1 dash bitters, some bacon strips and you’ll be the hit of the party! An extensive beer list and drink recipes can be found at

Crank-up your Weber grill and pile your Solo plates with union-brand foods: sausage and hot dogs from Alexander and Hornung, Ball Park or Oscar Meyer; chicken from Butterball, Empire Kosher, or Foster Farms; and thick juicy steaks from Omaha Steaks. Is your mouth watering yet?

Save some room for ice cream from Breyers or Good Humor, but don’t get so full that you can’t enjoy a good old fashioned game of Twister! Need a relaxing game while you await the fireworks? Take along a board game and get everyone involved with Clue, Cranium, Pictionary, Scrabble or Yahtzee.

Finally, while red looks great on Old Glory, it’s not the color you want your skin to turn after a day in the sun. Don’t forget your Bain de Soleil or Coppertone Sunscreen. Toss your sunscreen in your Rubbermaid cooler and reapply often!

By making the choice to spend your money on products and services that are made in our country by workers who are treated fairly and paid a living wage, you can help protect the middle class, strengthen our national economy and build a stronger America. Go to today to find out more.

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Union organizers say a new National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election rule is already helping to keep employers from stalling union elections. The new rule has significantly cut the wait time between filing a representation petition and the actual vote on unionization, writes Dan DiMaggio in the June 19 edition of Labor Notes.

Employers generally use the time leading up to a union election to campaign, often using coercion and intimidation, against a “yes” vote. Common strategies include organizing mandatory meetings in which workers are required to listen to anti-union propaganda presented by union-busting firms, anti-union lectures from supervisors and filing lawsuits to block or delay elections. Often the leaders of an organizing drive are fired by the company. Although so-called “retaliatory firings” are illegal, it can take years for fired workers to win back their jobs in court. Unsurprisingly, support for unionization often drops in the period leading up to an election.

But the new rule is already streamlining organizing drives. According to an analysis by the National Law Review of the period between April 14, when the rule took effect, and June 5, the median wait time between representation petition and election is now only 24 days. The comparable wait time for 2014 was 38 days.

Many employer groups are angry about the new rule. They say it promotes “ambush” elections. A coalition including the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Retail Federation has filed a lawsuit in the D.C. Circuit, claiming that the rule is an overreach of board authority and contending that it violates employers’ free speech rights. The rule has already survived a similar suit and an effort by Republicans in Congress to overturn it. Its future depends on the composition of the National Labor Relations Board and on who is in the White House: a more pro-employer board could overturn it.

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The California Labor Commissioner’s Office ruled earlier this month that a driver for the ride service Uber is as an employee, not an independent contractor. The company is appealing the decision. The ruling is important because of the number of companies across a variety of industries that are outsourcing jobs traditionally performed by employees to people who receive no health care, pensions or other benefits. The story was reported by writers Mike Isaac and Natasha Singer in a June 17 article in The New York Times.

Uber argues that it is exempt from labor laws because it operates in a “virtual marketplace,” where independent contractors benefit from the flexibility and freedom to use their own cars to give others rides. But many say such arrangements are simply a way for companies to minimize costs while at the same time maintaining control over workplace behavior. They say that such control is typically an indication that an employer-employee relationship exists, which should bring with it benefits, stable pay and some job security.

“Defendants hold themselves out as nothing more than a neutral technological platform, designed simply to enable drivers and passengers to transact the business of transportation,” the Labor Commissioner’s Office wrote about Uber. “The reality, however, is that defendants are involved in every aspect of the operation.” In May, authorities in Florida also said a former Uber driver should be classified as an employee to claim unemployment benefits, a decision Uber is appealing.

The classification of freelancers is in dispute across a number of industries, including delivery services and telecommunications. “For anybody who has to pay the bills and has a family, having no labor protections and no job security is at best a mixed blessing,” says Robert Reich, former secretary of labor and a professor of public policy at the University of California. “At worst, it is a nightmare. Obviously some workers prefer to be independent contractors–but mostly they take these jobs because they cannot find better ones.”

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There will be a membership meeting at the MM&P New York/New Jersey Union Hall onWednesday, July 8, immediately after job call at 1100. All members in the area are encouraged to attend the meeting.

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“The Ocean Cleanup,” a company that develops technologies to intercept plastic pollution, plans next year to deploy a two-kilometer wide filtering system to remove trash from the ocean. Founder of the company is 20-year-old Boyan Slat, who used the Internet to raise funds for the project. More than 100 scientists and engineers are said to have contributed to the design of the filter, a giant array slated to be deployed off the coast of Tsushima, an island in the waters between Japan and South Korea. The invention, if successful, would become the longest floating structure ever to be deployed in the ocean.

Slat hopes the device will remain afloat for at least two years, catching plastic pollution before it reaches the shores of Tsushima Island, where about one cubic meter of pollution per person is currently washed up each year. “Taking care of the world’s ocean garbage problem is one of the largest environmental challenges mankind faces today,” Slat says. He cites a 2014 study that confirms that a passive system is a feasible and cost-effective method to remove half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years’ time. The project already has 150,000 “friends” on Facebook.

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MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below.

New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

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

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

AB – 8/17/15, 10/12/15

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 7/13/15

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 8/4/15, 9/22/15, 1/26/16

AZIPOD 2-Day – 10/1/15

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 8/3/15, 10/19/15, 2/1/16

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 7/16/15, 11/9/15

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 9/28/15

BT – Basic Safety Training: 8/10/15, 10/5/15, 1/25/16

BT-Revalidation – 8/4/15, 11/3/15

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 10/26/15

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

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

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 7/27/15, 9/28/15, 1/25/16, 3/28/16

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 8/3/15, 10/19/15, 1/4/16, 3/7/16

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/5/15

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 8/17/15, 9/21/15, 10/5/15,11/2/15, 12/7/15, 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/21/16

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM):7/13/15, 8/10/15, 8/31/15, 9/28/15, 10/26/15, 11/16/15, 11/30/15, 1/18/16, 2/15/16,3/14/16

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 11/16/15

SEC-APPS – Practical Security Applications: 8/24/15, 10/12/15, 3/28/16

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 9/14/15

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 7/13/15, 8/10/15, 8/24/15,10/5/15, 11/9/15, 11/30/15, 1/11/16, 2/8/16, 3/14/16

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 7/20/15, 8/17/15, 8/31/15,10/12/15, 11/16/15, 12/7/15, 1/18/16, 2/15/16, 3/21/16

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 11/30/15, 2/29/16

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 11/9/15

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 11/9/15

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 7/9/15

DDE – Great Lakes: 2/1/16

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 7/14/15, 11/12/15

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 7/20/15, 8/24/15, 9/21/15, 10/19/15, 11/9/15,12/14/15, 1/4/16, 2/8/16, 3/21/16

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 8/10/15, 10/5/15, 1/25/16, 2/22/16

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 7/6/15, 9/15/15, 11/11/15

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

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/24/15, 3/7/16

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 8/31/15, 11/16/15

LAP- 9/14/15

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

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 8/3/15, 11/30/15, 3/7/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 7/16/15, 9/16/15, 11/10/15

LNG-TPIC – 12/7/15

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 9/21/15

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 7/6/15, 8/17/15, 9/14/15, 10/12/15, 11/2/15, 12/7/15, 1/11/16, 2/22/16, 3/28/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 8/24/15, 12/7/15, 1/4/16

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 7/27/15, 9/28/15, 2/1/15, 3/14/16

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 8/24/15, 10/12/15, 12/7/15, 1/4/15, 2/15/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 7/25/15, 8/28/15, 11/5/15, 12/12/15, 1/9/15, 1/31/16

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 8/19/15, 10/29/15, 3/8/16

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 8/17/15, 10/27/15, 3/5/16

*MSC-ENVPRO –8/16/15, 10/31/15, 2/28/16

*MSC-FF-HELO –8/3/15, 11/2/15, 2/22/16

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 8/8/15, 10/19/15, 1/4/16, 2/29/16

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 8/6/15, 10/17/15, 2/26/16

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced –8/12/15, 10/23/15, 1/8/16, 3/4/16

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force –8/13/15, 10/24/15, 1/10/16, 3/5/16

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 8/3/15, 9/21/15, 1/25/16

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 7/8/15, 7/22/15, 8/5/15, 8/19/15, 9/2/15, 9/16/15, 9/30/15, 10/14/15, 10/28/15, 11/3/15, 11/11/15, 11/18/15, 12/2/15, 12/10/15, 1/6/16, 1/13/16, 2/3/16

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 7/27/15, 1/18/16, 2/1/16

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 10/19/15

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 11/2/15, 2/15/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 7/27/15, 9/28/15, 1/25/16

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/3/15, 2/8/16

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/6/15, 1/4/16

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 8/3/15

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: Contact Admissions

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 7/22/15, 9/9/15, 10/7/15, 10/17/15, 2/15/16

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 9/28/15, 3/21/16

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/14/15, 2/29/16

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

June 2015

29-3 Leadership and Managerial Skills

July 2015

6-24 Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
13-17 Leadership and Managerial Skills
13-24 GMDSS
20-23 ARPA
27-31 Radar Observer Unlimited

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