Wheelhouse Weekly – March 02, 2001

March 2nd 2001


Bridging the Information Gap With E-News You Can Use

Volume 5. . . . . Number 9. . . March 2, 2001




The MM&P has won a potentially precedent setting National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision that blocks companies from reclassifying employees as supervisors just to make them ineligible to be members of the Union’s bargaining unit. MM&P’s case was presented by International Counsel John Singleton.

The judge in the case noted that a number of the company’s “most important witnesses had very real credibility problems. The company’s Port Captain Hopkins claimed that pilots had an array of supervisory responsibilities prior to May 1999, that were not documented in any way.”

“I am unwilling to take Hopkins’ ‘word’ regarding these undocumented matters since he revealed himself to be a facile historian. Indeed, some of Hopkins testimony regarding significant matters was so utterly impeached that I hesitate to credit his statements regarding any disputed matter, and in general have given his testimony very little weight,” the judge said.

He also noted that, “Hopkins was forced to admit on more than one occasion that as far as he knew, no pilot had ever exercised a supervisory function he claimed pilots had … and when he did claim knowledge about the specifics of a pilot’s exercise of supervisory functions his testimony was shown in some cases to be simply false.”

The ruling, handed down on March 1, supported MM&P’s complaints of unfair labor practices against the American River Transportation Company (ARTCO) which operates approximately 30 river tow boats on the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The tow boats push groups of 15 to 48 river barges which carry grain, grain products, salt, coal, steel and other bulk freight primarily for the Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM).

The company’s tow boat pilots had never been represented by a union for purposes of collective bargaining. In 1998, the MM&P conducted an organizing campaign which included the company’s tow boat captains and pilots.

The company then proceed to initiate a number of serious unfair labor actions which were in violation of various sections of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The MM&P protested these actions to the NLRB, and the NLRB ultimately issued several complaints against the company.

In its decision, the NLRB found that, “by making statements to employees implying that it had assigned supervisory duties to them in order to discourage union or protected activity, the company interfered with it’s employees rights under the NLRA.”

The NLRB’s Paul Bogas, the Administrative Law Judge who heard the case, also found that ARTCO, through its actions during the organizing drive such as “assigning additional supervisory duties to pilots, and by putatively assigning supervisory duties to pilots, all because of the pilots’ union and protective activity and in order to discourage such activity by pilots in the future, the company discriminated in regard to the hire, tenure, and conditions of employment of employment of its employees in violation of Section 8 (a)(1) and (3) of the Act.”

The judge also found that the company, “has failed to show that its pilots exercised a single one of the supervisory authorities listed in Section 2 (11) prior to May 1999. The Respondent’s argument is contradicted not only by the evidence regarding pilots’ duties, but also by its own prior statement in a letter to striking pilots which indicated that it viewed pilots as employees who had the right to engage in concerted activity, and … that pilots had been viewed as having ‘virtually no say-so in management.”

Having found that ARTCO engaged in certain unfair labor practices, Judge Bogas recommended to the Board that the company be required to cease and desist from assigning supervisory duties to statutory employees because of their union or protective activities …

The judge ordered that ARTCO must post the following notice, and that it must remain posted for 60 days and must not be altered, defaced, or covered with any other material:

Posted by Order of the National Labor Relations Board

The National Labor Relations Board has found that we violated the National Labor Relations Act and has ordered us to post and abide by this notice. Section 7 of the Act gives employees these rights:

  • To organize
  • To form, join, or assist any union
  • To bargain collectively through representatives of their own choice
  • To act together for other mutual aid or protection
  • To choose not to engage in any of these protected concerted activities.

WE WILL NOT assign supervisory duties to statutory employees because they have engaged in union or protected activities or in order to discourage them from supporting the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, AFL-CIO, or engaging in protected activities.

WE WILL NOT make statements to employees implying that we have, or will, assign supervisory duties to statutory employees in order to discourage them from engaging in union or protected activities.

WE WILL NOT in any like or related manner interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed them by Section 7 of the Act.

WE WILL withdraw the job description for pilots published in May of 1999, and rescind any orders or instructions we have issued implementing that description.

WE WILL withdraw the memorandum entitled “The ARTCO Pilot’s Added Responsibilities, Effective 09 Sept. 99,” and rescind any orders or instructions that we have issued implementing that document.


It is expected that ARTCO will appeal this ruling. MM&P Counsel John Singleton stated that he is “highly optimistic that the decision will be upheld in the appeal process.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


Just as he was settling in as the MM&P’s new Offshore Pacific Vice President in Seattle, Capt. Don Marcus and the rest of the Seattle hall staff went through the unsettling experience of dealing with a strong earthquake that struck the area on Wednesday morning.

The quake, which measured 6.8 in magnitude, struck shortly before 1100 hrs. The epicenter was about 30 miles southwest of Seattle. Vessel operations at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma were shut down and Sea-Tac International Airport also closed.

Initially, all vessel and gate operations at both seaports were suspended until structural engineers surveyed the integrity of the facilities. Container yard, gate and intermodal operations at the Port of Tacoma resumed by midafternoon.

Port of Seattle engineers also surveyed their cargo-handling facilities for any signs of damage. Initial reports said that the administration buildings at both ports shook violently, but there was no significant damage or injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration shut down Seattle-Tacoma Airport and the nearby Boeing Field-King County Airport Wednesday because of the quake. Transportation officials said that some portions of roads and highway on-ramps in Seattle had been closed to check for possible damage such as cracks or fallen concrete which might lead to landslides.

Capt. Marcus said that road closures in the area of the MM&P hall hopelessly snarled traffic. He finally had to abandon his car and hike about three miles in order to get to the office.

The last significant quake to hit the Seattle-Tacoma area was about five years ago, with a magnitude 5.0. The last severe quake, of 6.5 magnitude, occurred in 1965.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


On February 20, Mike Rodriguez joined the staff at MM&P HQ as Executive Assistant to the President. The position became open when Capt. Don Marcus was elected Offshore Pacific Ports VP. Mike became a member of MM&P following his graduation from Kings Point in 1979. He shipped out East Coast halls until 1995 when he began a career ashore and pursued his MBA.

Mike’s career ashore started at Nautical Technology Corporation (NTC) where he was involved in sales, training, and technical support for the company’s distributed database system. Many of NTC’s clients were MM&P contracted companies.

For the last four years, Mike served as Academy Training Representative (ATR) for the West Coast at the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, NY. In addition to his duties as ATR, Mike was closely involved with the academy’s Trimester and STCW-95 implementation projects, maritime career counseling, and teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. His extra-curricular activities included coaching the academy’s rugby team.

As a member of the US Naval Reserve, Mike is attached to the Merchant Marine Reserve Operational Command Headquarters Unit 0102 (MMROCH 0102) in Baltimore. Mike earned an undergraduate degree in Business Management from the University of Baltimore while shipping with the Union and an MBA at Dowling College during his shoreside employment at NTC and Kings Point.

We welcome Mike, his wife Debbie, and their two sons, Steven, 5, and Matthew, 9 months, to the MM&P HQ family. He may be reached at 410-850-8700 x23 or at

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


Earlier this week, the Journal of Commerce (JOC) reported that John Graykowski, the former deputy and acting head of the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) said that the Bush Administration should think carefully before it dismantles the agency.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has proposed shifting administration of the Maritime Security Program from MARAD to the Defense Dept., and ending the Title XI loan program which provides low-interest loans for ship construction. The rationale is “to consolidate the management of like-programs and achieve greater efficiencies.”

According to the Administration, “the transfer will ensure a centralized national security focus on the management of this program.” At this point, it does not appear that they are recommending any reduction in funding for MSP.

“In an effort to trim corporate subsidies,” it also appears that the Bush Administration is not requesting any new funding for the Title XI shipbuilding guarantee program.

The lack of availability of Title XI funding has the potential for a great deal of impact on domestic operators to replace and modernize their fleets, and could adversely affect new ventures to build vessels in American shipyards. If Title XI funding were done away with, it is possible that the US-build requirement in domestic cabotage laws would face repeal or major modification.

MM&P has already alerted our supporters in Congress. We will continue to follow this situation and others affecting maritime and will be positioned to initiate additional action as necessary once President Bush’s formal, complete budget is submitted to Congress in early April.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


MM&P pensioner Capt. Nicholas Barbara died on Wed., Feb.28 in southern California. He was 86. There will be a funeral service on March 8, 2001 at 1900 hrs at McNerney’s San Pedro Mortuary, 570 W. 5th St., San Pedro, CA 90731, phone: 310-832-8351.

At the MM&P’s 77th Convention in 1998, Capt. Barbara was honored by MM&P President Tim Brown and the delegates for his long years of service and dedication to the MM&P. One of the most visible reminders of his dedication is through the artwork and artifacts he has made and provided to the Organization.

He first went to sea in 1930 and took his pension in 1986. He is well known for producing ships-in-bottles and providing them to the MM&P to specially acknowledge individuals who are outstanding friends of the maritime industry. In addition to a number of MM&P members, recipients of Nick Barbara ships-in-bottles include members of Congress, former President Bill Clinton, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and past AFL-CIO President and MM&P member Lane Kirkland.

Throughout the MM&P’s MITAGS facility are numerous examples of knotwork and woodworking produced by Capt. Barbara as a gift to the Organization and his fellow members. He has also produced significant pieces for MM&P HQ and for the MM&P’s MIRAID office. Also in 1998, the Memorabilia Room at MITAGS – which Capt. Barbara was instrumental in bringing into existence – was dedicated to Capt. Barbara’s honor. Pauline Barbara, his wife of 58 years, passed away unexpectedly in Sept. 1998. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be sent to the American Heart Association, PO Box 6046, Irvine, CA 92716.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


Openings in classes through the end of May follow:

  • 3/12-15 SMA
  • 3/12-16: HAZ
  • 3/23: MED-MGMT
  • 3/24: ROR-1
  • 3/26-30: FF-ADV
  • 4/2-6: MSC-COMMS
  • 4/9-11: BRM-3
  • 4/9-13: COMP-MAR, FF-ADV
  • 4/9-20: GMDSS
  • 4/10-11: BRMP
  • 4/16-19: SMA
  • 4/16-20: FRB
  • 4/30-5/4: ARPA, BST, SHS-EMR
  • 5/7-11: FF-ADV, ARPA
  • 5/14-18: TPIC, ECDIS
  • 5/14-17: SMA
  • 5/14-25: GMDSS
  • 5/21-25: BRM-3, DCS, FF-ADV


On Mar 23 the first MED-MGMT class will be held.

MSC Classes

The Strategic Sealift Communications Course will be held at MITAGS April 2-6, 2001. To sign-up for MSC courses contact Mike Wein at 443-989-3238 or e-mail

Check the MITAGS website at: for up-to-date info. For additional course info, contact Mary Matlock at voice: 443-989-3226 or Email:

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly


 D O W

 N A S D A Q


-76.67 for the week 


 -61.58 for the week 

 Vanguard 500 Index Fund


-1.64 for the week

 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund 


-0.33 for the week

 Vanguard International Growth Fund


+0.01  for the week

 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund


-0.22 for the week

 Vanguard Windsor II Fund


+0.13 for the week

 Vanguard GNMA Fund


+0.06 for the week

 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)


+0.05  for the week

 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)


+0.52 for the week

 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)


-0.20 for the week

Fidelity Magellan Fund (FAGX)


-1.00 for the week

 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)


 -0.40  for the week

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

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: For further info contact John Peige at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex andis posted on our web page under “News” at:

Return to Top