Wheelhouse Weekly – Mar. 8, 2016

March 9th 2016

Volume 21 . . . Number 10. . . March 8, 2016


News for MM&P Members:

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In accordance with Article IV, Sections 8. and 2., respectively, of the International Constitution, you are hereby notified that a CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION of the MM&P will be convened at 9:00 amon Monday, July 18, 2016. The Constitutional Convention will be held at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies, 692 Maritime Boulevard, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090.

In accordance with Article IV, Section 8., Subsection c), the Constitutional Convention will be limited to Constitutional matters. You are also hereby notified that in accordance with Article IV, Section 6., Subsection c), all proposed resolutions for the Constitutional Convention must be forwarded to the International Secretary-Treasurer at least thirty (30) days prior to the opening day of the Convention for inclusion on the agenda and determination by the Convention.

Procedures for Submitting Constitutional Resolutions

All Constitutional Resolutions submitted for consideration by the Convention must include the following to be accepted for submission:

1. The page number of the proposed change/addition;
2. The heading of the section of the Constitution being changed;
3. The paragraph (ex: 2. (a) (iii) etc.) to be changed;
4. The wording of the change/addition;
5. The purpose of the change/addition;
6. The name(s) of the submitter(s).

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In accordance with Article IV, Section 2., of the International Constitution, you are hereby notified that the 86th CONVENTION of the MM&P will be convened at 9:00 am on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. The Convention will be held at the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies, 692 Maritime Boulevard, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090.

You are also hereby notified that in accordance with Article IV, Section 6., Subsection c), all proposed resolutions for the 86th Convention must be forwarded to the International Secretary-Treasurer at least thirty (30) days prior to the opening day of the Convention for inclusion on the agenda and determination by the Convention.

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers, labor and business leaders is fighting to repeal a 2014 Pentagon policy that cut per-diem rates for long-term government travel.

As part of the effort, Rep. Mark Takai, D-Hawaii, is asking his colleagues to sign on to a letter to the leadership of the Defense appropriations committee urging elimination of the policy, which reduced reimbursement rates by 25 percent for long-term travel of 31 to 180 days, and by 45 percent for travel exceeding 180 days.

The cuts affect military personnel and DOD civilian workers, including members of the MM&P Federal Employees Membership Group (FEMG).

“The per-diem policy has damaged the morale of employees and also negatively affected many businesses that cater to government and military personnel,” Takai says.

“While we all applaud the Department of Defense for working to find initiatives for cost savings and creating efficiencies, we must do our best to ensure that any solutions do not negatively affect the personnel or readiness of our national defense sector.”

MM&P is among the unions urging Congress to repeal the cuts.

Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., has introduced a stand-alone bill (HR 1193), that would reverse the per-diem reductions. That bill, which is pending, has 33 co-sponsors–25 Democrats and eight Republicans.

Under the policy, the reimbursement rate is up to 75 percent of the locality rate (lodging plus meals and incidentals) for each full day during long-term TDY of 31 to 180 days; for travel lasting more than 180 days, it falls to 55 percent of the locality rate for each full day.

Some Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill, as well as federal employee unions, assert that the Pentagon’s changes have eroded morale and caused an undue burden on government travelers. They argue that the 2014 policy is simply unrealistic given the increased rates of rental housing and many hotels.

Last fall, Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Brian Schatz of Hawaii unsuccessfully tried to get appropriators to include language in the fiscal 2016 omnibus spending bill that would have repealed the cuts to the long-term per diems. A congressionally mandated study on the ramifications of the policy for government employees is expected to be released on June 1.

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A failure of the Poe Lock—the largest of the locks that connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway—would quickly put almost 11 million Americans out of work and lead to a $1.1 trillion decrease in economic activity.

According to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Cyber and Infrastructure Analysis, these are just two of the catastrophic consequences of a hypothetical six-month failure of the 47-year-old Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Four thousand commercial vessels transit the locks at Sault Ste. Marie each year, carrying more than 80 million tons of iron ore, low-sulfur coal, grain, limestone and break-bulk cargos from or destined for domestic and foreign ports. Seventy percent of all tonnage moved in U.S.-flag vessels funnels through the Poe Lock because it alone can accommodate the largest and most efficient vessels working the Lakes.

The analysis found that a failure of the Poe Lock would quickly cripple the entire American economy: approximately 75 percent of U.S. integrated steel production would cease within two-to-six weeks of the lock failing.

Roughly 80 percent of iron ore mining and nearly 100 percent of North American production of automobiles, appliances, heavy equipment and railcars would then shut down. Almost 11 million people in the U.S. and millions more in Canada and Mexico would lose their jobs, pushing the economy into a slump more severe than “the Great Recession” of 2008-9.

A second Poe-sized lock to provide redundancy at the Soo has twice been authorized by Congress, the second time in 2007 at full federal expense. However, funds for its construction have not been appropriated because of a flawed analysis of the project’s benefit/cost ratio, the Lake Carriers’ Association says.

Approximately 300 MM&P members sail on the Great Lakes.

The full report can be accessed at

Lake Carriers’ Association represents 15 American companies that operate 56 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes and carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, aggregate and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation, as well as salt, sand and grain. Collectively, these vessels can transport more than 100 million tons of cargo per year.

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The Coast Guard on March 1 issued a Marine Safety Information Bulletin reminding owners, operators and masters of the SOLAS requirement that crew members with enclosed space entry or rescue responsibilities must participate in an enclosed space entry and rescue drill on board the ship at least once every two months.

Each U.S.-flag vessel to which SOLAS applies should conduct a risk assessment to determine the applicability of this requirement and document that assessment in the vessel’s safety management system (SMS). The announcement, MSIB 05-16, can be viewed at

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Poverty levels in the state of Wisconsin have reached their highest level in 30 years, according to an article published last week in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Poverty is growing rapidly in almost half the counties in the state, the newspaper reports, citing a recent study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The news is particularly ironic in light of the pledge by Republican Governor Scott Walker that his attacks on labor unions in the state, including the elimination of collective bargaining rights for almost all public sector employees, were going to deliver a booming economy.

“Poverty in Wisconsin hit its highest level in 30 years during the five-year period ending in 2014,” writes Karen Herzog for the state’s largest newspaper.

Every year since the Walker administration pushed through its “labor reforms,” the number of Wisconsinites living in poverty has averaged 13 percent, the highest level since 1984, according to the analysis by UW-Madison’s Applied Population Laboratory. (The poverty rate in Wisconsin peaked at 15.5 percent in 1984, when the United States was coming out of a double-dip recession.)

The study showed that during the most recent five-year span, poverty increased significantly in 31 of 72 Wisconsin counties, including 11 of the 15 most populous counties. Poverty rates were also up across every level of educational achievement during the five-year period.

Besides union-busting, Walker’s administration has pursued policies that include steep tax breaks for the rich, cuts in vital public services and reduced wages for construction workers.

He became a national sensation among anti-labor politicians five years ago when he stripped almost all public workers of their collective bargaining rights while using the state budget to eliminate the requirement in force in local communities to pay the prevailing wage to workers on government projects.

More recently, Walker’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination floundered after only two months. Now back in Wisconsin, he has just signed into law a new “reform” aimed at the state’s Civil Service system. Under the plan, objective skill-based examinations of potential new hires will be replaced by a hiring system based on the opinions of state supervisors, many of them political appointees, administered directly by the governor’s office.

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MM&P Atlantic Ports union halls, Gulf Ports union halls, MM&P headquarters and the MM&P Federal Credit Union will be closed on Thursday, March 17, for Gleason’s Birthday, an International Longshoremen’s Association holiday. All MM&P union halls, MM&P headquarters, the MM&P Plan Office and the MM&P Federal Credit Union will be closed on March 25, for Good Friday.

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The Offshore Orientation Course will be held in the San Francisco/Oakland hall on April 13-14. Interested applicants should sign up with the San Francisco/Oakland dispatcher: 415-777-5074(phone); 415-777-0209 (fax). There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.

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The U.S. Coast Guard’s Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) will meet on March 16-17 in Jacksonville, Fla. Topics on the agenda include: competency requirements for the polar regions; mariner occupational health risk study; and fatigue mitigation and management. To find out more, go to:

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Take advantage of great deals with AT&T. Remember, AT&T is the only unionized wireless service provider. Union members already save 15 percent off select monthly plans through Union Plus. For a limited time, five “Fantastic Mobile Deals” are being offered:

. $99 iPad Mini 2 Bundle
. Free Samsung Tab 4 Bundle
. Free Samsung Gear S2 Watch Bundle
. Buy the Samsung Galaxy S6, Get One Free
. LG G Pad F 8.0 for $0.99 with activation of two-year agreement.

Join the nearly 150,000 union workers who choose AT&T as their wireless carrier!

AFL-CIO Union Plus benefits help current and retired labor union members and their families save money and support them through major milestones, celebrations and hardships. Visit and click on the Blog for more deals.

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Community activists and labor unions in Canada have been fighting to maintain door-to-door mail service in cities and towns. Direct mail delivery in urban areas had been slated for elimination under a plan introduced by the country’s previous Conservative government that would also have eliminated tens of thousands of postal service jobs.

The campaign to save door-to-door mail delivery, known as “Save Canada Post,” began after the postal service announced in December 2013 that it would phase out delivery in urban areas, requiring customers to pick up their own mail from clustered “community mailboxes.”

Common concerns of members of the public included having to get their own mail in winter weather, mail getting wet and dirty and the obstacles that seniors and people with disabilities would face in picking up their own mail at the community mail clusters.

“People were angry about the potential loss of door to door,” said Dave Bleakney, a national officer of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), who was interviewed by Labor Notes. “They got it, and they wanted to do something.”

Local activists and union members started a door-to-door campaign in cities and towns to show that postal workers were not the only ones concerned about the proposal to eliminate door-to-door delivery. In one town, London, canvassers worked virtually every weekend between January and June of 2015.

To facilitate communications between postal workers and the public, the campaigners brought local residents—customers–directly into mail facilities unannounced to speak with employees.

“Postal workers are really loyal to the people they serve,” said Bleakney.

“As soon as that word ‘customer’ was said, you could see body language shift.” In the town of London, about half the members of the union ultimately agreed to canvass door-to-door as part of the campaign.

Last August, Canada’s ruling Conservative Party announced a federal election, and the union worked hard to make door-to-door mail an election issue by lobbying members of Parliament. All three political parties eventually shifted their positions on the issue.

A week after the Liberal Party won a majority government in October, Canada Post announced a halt to the new “community mailbox” installations—a huge victory, though the union is still fighting to restore delivery in places where it had already been eliminated.

The new Liberal government has promised to analyze operations at Canada Post, and is expected to announce details soon. The union wants a public feedback process, including on its proposal to expand services and revenue through postal banking.

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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 Elisabeth Cruz, 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 – 4/18/16, 8/22/16, 10/17/16

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/27/16, 7/22/16

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/5/16, 8/9/16, 9/27/16

AZIPOD 2-Day – 5/25/16, 11/14/16

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 4/4/16, 8/8/16, 10/31/16

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 05/23/2016, 7/18/16, 11/14/16

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: 04/13/16

BT – Basic Safety Training: 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

BT-Revalidation – 05/10/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 4/25/16, 11/14/16

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

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

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 3/28/16, 06/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/17/16

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 11/7/16

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 04/04/16, 10/24/16

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information System: 3/21/16, 06/13/16, 7/25/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16,10/10/16, 11/28/16, 12/19/16

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM) 3/14/16, 3/28/16,4/4/16, 4/11/16, 5/16/16, 5/23/16, 6/27/16, 7/11/16, 7/25/16, 8/15/16,8/22/16, 9/12/16,10/3/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16,11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 05/02/16, 9/19/16

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 3/28/16, 6/20/16, 8/1/16, 10/31/16

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 04/18/16, 10/3/16

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/14/16, 04/18/16, 05/09/16, 06/13/16,7/18/16, 8/15/16, 9/12/16, 10/24/16, 11/7/16, 12/5/16

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/21/16, 04/25/16, 05/16/16, 06/20/16, 7/25/16, 8/22/16, 9/19/16, 10/31/16, 11/14/16, 12/12/16

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 9/12/16

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 05/09/16, 9/26/16

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 05/02/16, 10/24/16

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 7/19/16

DDE – Great Lakes: 6/6/16

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-OIC – Contact Admissions

ECDIS-Pilots – 05/25/16, 7/20/16, 11/14/16

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 3/21/16, 4/18/16, 5/9/16, 7/18/16, 8/22/16, 9/26/16, 10/24/16, 11/14/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/15/16, 10/10/16

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 04/19/16, 9/20/16

GL Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 8/22/16

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 6/27/16, 8/29/16, 12/5/16

LAP- 4/4/16, 9/19/16

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: 06/06/16, 8/8/16, 12/5/16

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 4/20/16, 5/23/16, 7/19/16, 9/21/16, 11/15/16

LNG-TPIC – 12/5/16

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 4/4/16

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control: 3/28/16, 4/25/16, 5/16/16, 7/11/16, 8/29/16, 9/19/16, 10/17/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/5/16, 12/12/16, 12/19/16

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 3/21/16, 05/16/16, 7/11/16, 11/7/16, 12/12/16

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 3/14/16, 05/02/16, 8/29/16, 10/3/16

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/21/16, 05/16/16, 11/7/16, 11/28/16, 12/12/16

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 3/19/16, 05/14/16, 8/28/16, 11/12/16, 12/17/16

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 6/10/16, 8/10/16, 10/17/16

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 3/5/16 (March is 4 evenings), 6/8/16, 8/8/16, 10/18/16

*MSC-ENVPRO – 6/5/16, 8/7/16, 10/16/16

*MSC-FF-HELO – 6/6/16, 8/22/16, 10/31/16

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 6/13/16, 8/14/16, 10/23/16

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 6/11/16, 8/11/16, 10/20/16

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 6/17/16, 8/13/16, 10/22/16

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 6/18/16, 8/18/16, 10/27/16

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 5/23/16, 7/26/16, 10/25/16

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 5/9/16

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 3/16/16, 3/29/16, 04/06/16, 4/13/16, 04/20/16, 05/04/16, 05/18/16, 06/08/16, 06/22/16, 7/13/16, 7/27/16, 8/10/16, 8/24/16, 9/21/16, 10/5/16, 10/19/16, 11/2/16, 11/9/16, 11/16/16, 11/30/16, 12/7/16, 12/14/16

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 8/1/16

SAR-OIC – Search & Rescue – 04/18/16, 11/7/16

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 04/11/16, 06/27/16, 8/29/16, 10/17/16

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day: 05/02/16, 8/1/16, 10/3/16, 11/28/16

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 8/8/16

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: 7/11/16

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 8/8/16

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 4/28/16

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 04/25/16, 7/13/16, 9/7/16, 10/22/16

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 3/21/16, 10/3/16

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 9/19/16

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

March 2016

14-18 MEECE (waitlist only)
15th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
16-17 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
21-25 ECDIS (waitlist only)
21-25 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
21-25 Engine Resource Management (waitlist only)
28-8 Celestial Navigation
30-31 Leadership for Shoreside Managers

April 2016

4-8 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
4-8 Engine Resource Management (waitlist only)
11th Radar Renewal
11-22 GMDSS
18-22 Leadership & Managerial Skills (waitlist only)
18-22 Medical Care Provider
18-22 MEECE (waitlist only)
25-29 ECDIS
27-29 Bridge Resource Management & Emergency Shiphandling for Pilots

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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