News

Wheelhouse Weekly – March 05, 2007

March 5th 2007

 

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

Volume 11 . . . . . Number 9. . . .March 5, 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.


TWIC PROGRAM MOVES FORWARD,MARINERS HAVE UNTIL 2008 TO COMPLY

Mariners have until Sept. 25, 2008, to obtain a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), the new card mandated by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Until then, they can access secure areas of a facility or vessel without escort by showing a valid Merchant Mariner’s Document (MMD) or a merchant mariner’s license with a photo ID. Enrollment in the program will begin at specific Captain of the Port Zones according to a timetable to be published in the Federal Register. When the timetable is published, MM&P will inform members through The Wheelhouse Weekly.

MM&P and other maritime unions have been working in concert to advocate for members’ rights at every stage of the rulemaking process.

MM&P recently participated in a National Maritime Security Advisory Committee (NMSAC) working group regarding the equipment that will be needed to “read” the TWIC card. During the working group discussions, MM&P and other maritime unions were able to establish that among the group’s guiding principles were the requirements that TWIC cards be readable internationally and that any future applications of the cards must be approved by TSA. These issues are important with respect to access to shore leave in foreign ports and privacy.

By Jan. 1, 2009, TSA must issue (or deny) a TWIC to all mariners who apply and who had current, valid Merchant Mariner’s Documents as of Oct. 13, 2006. The USCG’s draft NVIC, Guidance for the Implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential Program in the Maritime Sector, outlines the five-step process: optional pre-enrollment over the web, at www.tsa.gov/twic; enrollment at a TSA-designated center (for a list of necessary documents, go to www.tsa.gov/twic); payment of a fee ranging from $107 to $159; security threat assessment and notification; card issuance. The card will be valid for five years.
If you have questions on the process, contact Mike Rodriguez of the MM&P headquarters staff (mrodriguez@bridgedeck.org; 410-850-8700 ext. 23).


IF YOUR LICENSE WAS ISSUED BEFORE FEB. 1, 2002YOU CAN UPGRADE IT UNDER OLD RULES, USCG EXPLAINS

Mariners who were issued licenses before Feb. 1, 2002, can seek a raise in grade (RIG) from third mate/third assistant engineer to second mate/second assistant engineer or from chief mate/first engineer to master/chief engineer by taking the “old” RIG exam, according to the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center (NMC). The announcement ends months of uncertainty regarding how the RIG examination policy would be applied. The clarification was issued Jan. 31 as Guidance Document #01-07. NMC advises those with questions to contact their Regional Examination Center (REC) or visit the NMC web site. If you have other questions on the process, contact Richard Plant of the MM&P headquarters staff (rplant@bridgedeck.org; 410-850-8700 ext. 36).


 

MERCHANT OFFICERS LABOR ALLIANCE FINALIZED,READY TO BE SENT TO MEMBERS FOR RATIFICATION

The “Merchant Officers Labor Alliance,” or MOLA, sets forth a number of goals that MM&P and the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) would like to jointly pursue. MM&P and MEBA have approved the final agreement, which includes input received from the membership of both unions. The changes to the original MOLA, posted on the MM&P web site and in union halls for the past few weeks, are cosmetic in nature. It is anticipated that the 90-day MM&P ratification ballot will be in the mail around March 9.



MARITIME LABOR WINS ROUND ONE OF IMO SAFE MANNING GUIDELINES DEBATE

Manning standards were debated at the January meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Subcommittee on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping. The topic came to the fore on the heels of recent accidents off the coast of Europe in which overworked, fatigued crewmembers clearly played a role. 

A study of the accidents conducted by the United Kingdom Marine Accident Investigation Board showed how flag of convenience (FOC) ship registers are using low manning level requirements to attract FOC shippers seeking a competitive advantage. In response to these findings, the United Kingdom and other nations introduced a position paper at IMO calling for the debate on workload, fatigue and manning to be reopened.

International regulation of safe manning guidelines established by IMO resolution A. 890 allows each flag state to determine how many mariners are required on board to ensure safety—but the guidelines are voluntary. MM&P and other organizations have formed a group to begin reviewing the present guidelines, with hopes of developing international methodology to determine manning levels that port states could enforce. 

Participants in the IMO subcommittee meeting in January, including MM&P and other maritime labor unions, began the task of defining the scope of the debate and outlining possible future solutions to the problem. Nations with FOC ship registers and shipowner interests present at the meeting tried to derail the discussion by arguing that the number of rest hours for crewmembers was already dictated by the International Labor Organization (ILO) work/rest hour standards. They argued that if the work/rest hour standards are complied with, it should be self evident that the ship is adequately manned and not subject to the safety risks associated with fatigued watchstanders. Unfortunately, however, the work/rest hour records available for review by port state officials for purposes of enforcement are routinely falsified and there is currently no effective means of enforcing the regulations.

Despite the procedural problems, the subcommittee formed a correspondence group, under the chairmanship of the United States, to begin a review of the present A. 890 guidelines with the expectation that they could form the basis for a future mandatory code under SOLAS. MM&P will participate in this effort. Developing uniformly applied manning standards may take several years, because it involves passing an amendment to the SOLAS Convention.



LABOR LEGISLATION PASSED BY HOUSE

The House of Representatives voted to approve HR 800, the Employee Free Choice Act. If the measure becomes law, it would level the playing field to give workers a fighting chance to have a union and bargain for better wages and benefits. It puts in place real penalties for employers who violate workers’ freedom to make their own choice about a union. It would allow a neutral party to determine a first contract if the company and employees cannot reach an agreement. Finally, it puts in place a card check system which would enable workers to form unions when a majority indicates in writing that they want one.

The bill was approved by a vote of 241-185. Thirteen Republicans joined 228 Democrats in voting for the measure. The legislation now must pass the Senate. President Bush has said he will veto it if it reaches his desk. 


UNION WORKERS, MARITIME BUSINESSES, WOULD BE PENALIZEDBY SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION’S PROPOSED RULES

Small businesses that contract with labor unions such as MM&P for the temporary employment of highly trained workers could be penalized under a recent Small Business Administration (SBA) proposal. The proposed rules would change the definition of an employee for purposes of the “Historically Underutilized Business” (HUBZone) program. The HUBZone program is intended to direct more government business to economically disadvantaged areas of the country.

Under the proposed rules, contractors and other temporary employees who reside outside the HUBZone would, for the first time, be counted as employees. Since many MM&P members would fall into this category, a HUBZone company that employs them could lose its status under the program.

In its comments to the SBA, MM&P said there is little or no evidence that the problem the proposal purports to address actually exists. The union underlined the fact that although over 13,000 small businesses have qualified for inclusion in the program over the years, the SBA received only nine comments regarding an earlier attempt, dating to May 2004, to redefine “employee” for purposes of the program.  

Since the maritime industry relies on highly trained workers who must be drawn from the total pool of qualified mariners residing anywhere in the United States or even overseas, the attempt to broaden the definition of “employee” to include union members who may not reside in a HUBZone would make most or all maritime businesses ineligible to participate, MM&P says. It encouraged the SBA to go back to the drawing board, in particular to investigate how the proposed changes would affect all types of business operating in the HUBZones. The SBA itself admits in the rulemaking that it has no clear sense of what the impact of the proposed rules on small business would actually be.


USCG TO BOOST GREAT LAKES PILOTAGE RATES

For the 2007 navigation season, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has announced it will update rates for pilotage service on the Great Lakes an average of 22.62 percent across all three pilotage districts. The last ratemaking took place in April 2006. MM&P has been involved in advocating in Washington on behalf of the Great Lakes pilots, who had gone without necessary increases for years. “We are pleased that the USCG is beginning to address the Great Lakes rate problems,” a spokesman for MM&P’s Pilot Membership Group said. “Last year we also saw a large increase, but given the magnitude of the problem, the 2006 and 2007 increases are just the first step on the road to fixing the situation.” 


USS PRESIDENT SIMPKINS IN STABLE CONDITION AFTER HEAD-ON COLLISION

United Seamen’s Service (USS) President Talmage E. Simpkins is in serious but stable condition at a trauma center in Fairfax, Va., after a head-on collision. His vehicle was hit at high speed by an oncoming car that had crossed into his lane. Simpkins was driving alone when the accident took place. USS is a “home away from home” for U.S. merchant mariners, personnel of the U.S. Armed Forces and seafarers of all nations, offering hospitality, emergency services and an opportunity to fulfill many portside needs. 


GREAT LAKES SHIPPING COMPROMISED BY LACK OF INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS

The efficiency of shipping on the Great Lakes is being seriously compromised by a lack of investments in navigational infrastructure, according to Jim Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA). In testimony before the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development,  Weakley told lawmakers that the problem of lost cargo capacity created by the light-loading of vessels at Great Lakes ports has become severe.

In Waukegan, Ill., he said, the lack of dredging has caused ships to lose approximately seven feet of draft. At the port of Saginaw, Mich., he said 60 inches of draft had been lost. That port was temporarily closed last year when two ships were grounded until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could perform emergency dredging operations.

Weakley suggested to the legislators that more money to fund Great Lakes navigation infrastructure improvements be appropriated from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. He expressed the hope that the 2008 federal budget “will contain the additional $20 to $25 million needed to start plugging away at the backlog,” adding “We need to take back the Great Lakes.”


ADMINISTRATION SEEKS TO HOBBLE AMTRAK, FORCE PRIVATIZATION, SAYS AFL-CIO TRANSPORTATION TRADES DEPARTMENT PRESIDENT

The security needs of the nation’s rail system are going largely unmet and essential maintenance is being deferred because of the Bush Administration’s “gross lack of understanding of passenger rail’s importance to our nation’s transportation system and economy,” says Edward Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department (TTD). In testimony Feb. 28 before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Wytkind called the $800 million for Amtrak in the White House budget proposal “nothing more than a shut-down number.” Wytkind told the members of the subcommittee that most Amtrak employees have not had a raise in eight years. “This isn’t a funding plan: it’s a path to privatization and ultimately the destruction of Amtrak as we know it,” he said. “Economic powers and emerging nations around the globe spend billions on passenger rail because they know that a strong economy is dependent on a strong transportation system and infrastructure. There is no substitute for a transportation system that can move our people and goods safely and efficiently.”


MATSON’S CEO MULHOLLAND DIES AT 65

Former Matson Navigation Co. President and Chief Executive Officer Bradley Mulholland, age 65, died Feb. 20 in Oakland, Calif., after a long battle with cancer. Mulholland retired from Matson in January 2004 as vice chairman, after 36 years of service. Known for his personable style and impressive command of information, Mulholland joined Matson in 1965 as an assistant booking clerk at the company’s former Wilmington, Calif., facility, then moved to the San Francisco headquarters in 1979 to head Matson’s freight division. He served as president of the company from 1990 to 2002.


MITAGS SIMULATION CENTER GRAND OPENING MARCH 26

The Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies (MITAGS) announces the grand opening of its marine simulation technology center on March 26, from 1630 to 2030 hours. The event will include a reception, entertainment and continuous tours of the full-mission bridges, towing simulators, 14-station computer lab, vessel traffic system, All-Weather Navigation system and the crane simulator.

Guests will be able to view Full-Mission Simulator #1, one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated devices of this type, which has been upgraded and integrated into two towing, six part-task and one vessel traffic simulator. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP Brandi Smith at bsmith@mitags.org no later than March 19.

Investments in Simulator #1 and other state-of-the art equipment will enhance training and research at MITAGS and the Pacific Maritime Institute in Seattle. To learn more about simulation at MITAGS, contact Robert Becker, at (866) 656-5569 or by e-mail rbecker@mitags.org. You can also visit www.mitags.org


MM&P-CREWED USNS SACAGAWEA DELIVERED TO MSC

The MM&P-crewed dry cargo/ammunition ship USNS SACAGAWEA was delivered to the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command after it completed sea trials off the southern California coast. It is the second in a new class of combat logistics force ships that will deliver ammunition, provisions, stores, spare parts, potable water and petroleum products to the Navy’s carrier and expeditionary strike groups and other naval forces. The first of the MM&P-crewed T-AKE ships, USNS LEWIS AND CLARK, carried out its first underway replenishment in December as part of an operational evaluation that will continue through May 2007. The third T-AKE ship, USNS ALAN SHEPARD, was christened in December.


IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT ALL MM&P AND MITAGS MAILING ADDRESSES

MM&P has received a notice from the post office advising that it will no longer deliver mail that it considers incorrectly addressed. All mail must have: the name of the individual (if going to a person); the name of the organization; the street address and suite number; and, on the same line, the city, state and zip+4.

The correct address for MM&P headquarters is: 
MM&P
700 Maritime Boulevard, Suite B
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1941

The correct address for MM&P Plans is:
700 Maritime Boulevard, Suite A
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1996

The correct address for the MM&P Federal Credit Union is:
Kathy Ann Klisavage, Credit Union Manager
Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union
700 Maritime Blvd., Suite B
Linthicum Heights,  MD  21090-1941

The correct address for MITAGS is:
692 Maritime Boulevard
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1996


MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

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


AIS – Automatic Identification System: 3/23
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 3/6, 4/3, 5/1

BRM Bridge Resource Management: 4/23
BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 5/2
BST – Basic Safety Training: 3/12, 4/9

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 3/19, 4/2
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 4/23
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 4/16
CMM-ECDIS � Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 5/28
CMM-MPP � Marine Propulsion Plants: 5/21
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management II (week 1): 4/30
CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management II (week 2): 3/5
Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 3/12, 4/9, 5/14
Available on a “Stand-By Basis Only”: CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 3/19, 4/16, 5/21
CMM-WKP � Advanced Watchkeeping: 3/12, 5/14

CONT-PLNG � Contingency Planning: 5/18
CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 4/25

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 3/12, 4/9

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 4/16

LAP � License Advancement Program: 5/28
MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 3/22, 5/17

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 4/21
MED-PIC � Medical Person-In-Charge: 5/14
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 4/16

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 3/30, 5/24
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 3/22, 4/23, 5/22
Available on a Stand-By Basis Only: MSC-SMA � Small Arms: 5/21
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 5/25 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 3/26, 5/14
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 3/12, 4/2, 4/30

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 3/19, 5/14
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 4/23, 5/28
SHS-EMR- Emergency Shiphandling: 4/2, 4/30
SHS-EMR- BRMP-3- Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 3/20


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

Winter – Spring 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)

March 2007
6-7 MAXIMO
6-9 LFBT
7-9 EP
12-16 BST
12-16 AB
12-16 STB BAS
12-16 ARPA
19-23 CHS BAS
19-23 SHS EMR-5
19TH RADAR RENEWAL
GMDSS
MED PRO
ENAV
SHS BAS

April 2007
2-6 WX BAS
2-6 TPIC
9-11 SEC VCF
9-13 FF BADV
9-13 SHS BAS
9-13 ARPA
9-13 ECDIS
9-20 GMDSS
16-27 WKP BAS
16-4 TCNAV/CO BEGIN APRIL ’07 AB TO MATE PROGRAM
23-25 BRM
24-27 LFBT
30-4 AB
30-4 FF ADV
30-4 SHS BAS

May 2007
7-11 SHS BAS
7-18 GMDSS
7-18 CNAV
14-18 ARPA
14-18 SHS EMR-5
14-25 GMDSS
15TH RADAR RENEWAL
16-18 FF ADV
21-25 BST
21-25 ENAV
21-25 CHS BAS
21ST FL
22-23 SHS ASSESS
29TH FL

June 2007
TCNAV/CO – BEGIN JUNE ’07 AB TO MATE PROGRAM
LICENSE PREP
TPIC
MEDPRO
MED PIC
WKP BAS
GMDSS
LFBT
BST
AB
11-12         SHS ASSESS
11-15         ECDIS
11-13         SEC VCF
18-22         ARPA
18-22         SHS BAS
19TH      RADAR RENEW
SHS ASSESS
25-29         FF BADV
25-29         ROP

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 3-2-2007

 

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
12,114.10 2,368.00 1,387.17
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 Closing
Price
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
128.12
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
39.09
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
23.41
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
18.64
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
34.33
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.24
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
6.26
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
10.06
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
18.70
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.21
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
30.75
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
88.67
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
20.83
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
82.49
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
49.24
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
32.71

.






~ 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 John Peige at jpeige@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 John Peige at jpeige@bridgedeck.org.

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