News

Wheelhouse Weekly – May 12, 2006

 

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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 19. . . . May 12, 2006

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.





 

MEBA TO SHARE MM&P HALL IN JACKSONVILLE

As part of a more cooperative arrangement between the MM&P and the MEBA, the two unions are combining resources in Jacksonville and will share the MM&P union hall beginning in June. The MEBA hall located on 435 Clark Rd. will be folding up its tent and moving to 349 E. 20th Street in Jacksonville, the site of the MM&P union hall. The move will likely be completed on June 1st after the computers and phone service are installed. MEBA will maintain separate offices within the building but each union will share the main room for their respective membership meetings and job calls. The phone and fax numbers as well as e-mail addresses will remain the same. There is plenty of parking available. Liz Pettit is MM&P’s Representative in Jacksonville. Tom Suneson is MEBA’s Representative there.




 

DHS ISSUES PROPOSED RULEMAKINGS FOR TRANSPORTATION WORKER ID CREDENTIAL AND MERCHANT MARINER CREDENTIAL

Earlier this week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the US Coast Guard took another step toward the implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) by approving proposed regulations for a biometric-based identification credential for port workers. The notice lays out specific details on the program. Public meetings hosted by the TSA and USCG will be held in Newark, NJ (May 31); Tampa, FL (June 1); St. Louis, MO (June 6); and Long Beach, CA (June 7). Written comments on the proposal must be submitted within 45 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register.

“TWIC is designed to ensure that individuals posing a security threat do not gain access to our nation’s ports,” said Assistant Secretary Kip Hawley of TSA. He said that the proposed rulemaking represents a significant milestone towards putting TWIC on the fast track.

Of special interest to MM&P members, the USCG also approved a proposed regulation that works in conjunction with TWIC to streamline the current credentialing process for merchant mariners.

The publication of these two rulemakings follows an announcement that was reported in last week’s Wheelhouse Weekly by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff that it will begin conducting name-based background checks on approximately 400,000 port workers within the US. These checks are an immediate measure to safeguard the Nation’s ports while DHS expedites the rollout of the TWIC.

The TWIC rule proposes the following:

— TSA would collect worker’s biographic information including ten fingerprints; name; date of birth; address and phone number; alien registration number, if applicable; photo; employer; and job title.

— All individuals with unescorted access to secure areas of port facilities and vessels regulated under the Maritime
Transportation Security Act would be required to have a TWIC. This includes longshoremen, port operator employees, truck drivers and rail workers. U.S. Merchant Mariners who hold an active Merchant Mariner’s Document, Merchant Mariner’s License, Certificate of Registry or an STCW Endorsement would also be required to obtain a TWIC.

— Background checks would include a review of criminal history records, terrorist watch lists, legal immigration status and outstanding wants and warrants.

— TWIC would utilize Smart Card technology and include a worker’s photo, name, biometric information and multiple fraud protection measures. The card would be consistent with Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 and Federal Information Processing Standards Publication 201-1 requirements and would be interoperable with other federal credentials built to those standards.

— The program is expected to cover 750,000 workers and would be funded through user fees. TSA anticipates workers would pay approximately $139 to receive a TWIC. Workers with current, comparable background checks would pay approximately $105 for the credential. A TWIC card would be valid for five years.

— Port facility and vessel owners and operators would be required to implement TWIC into their existing access control systems and operations, purchase and utilize card readers, and update their approved security plans.

The Merchant Mariner Credential rule proposes the following:

— A new Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) would combine the elements of the Merchant Mariner’s License,
Merchant Mariner’s Document, Certificate of Registry, and STCW Endorsement into one qualification
credential.

— Although the format in which the mariner’s qualifications and the application process itself would change, the training, experience and other requirements necessary to obtain a mariner’s service qualifications would not change.

— Merchant mariners would no longer be required to visit a Regional Exam Center to submit fingerprints and identification or to take an oath when they obtain or renew their credentials, resulting in substantial time and
travel savings.

— The MMC would appear in certificate form with many fraud protection measures. Although the actual format of the MMC is still in development, it is expected to look much like the recently released STCW Endorsement, as well as contain many of the security features used in that new certificate.

TSA laid the foundation for the establishment of the universal credential through a technology evaluation and prototype test. During the prototype test of the credential last year, TSA issued more than 4,000 TWICs to workers at
26 sites in 6 states.


WHITE HOUSE RESPONDS TO PASSAGE OF SAFE PORT ACT

The White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a statement regarding last week’s House passage of HR 4954, SAFE Port Act. The following are some excerpts from that statement:

The Administration supports House passage of HR 4954 and appreciates Congress’s commitment to enhancing the Nation’s port security. The Administration is committed to ensuring that any port security initiatives provide a comprehensive approach that strengthens security requirements while facilitating trade in a fiscally responsible manner.

The Administration applauds Congress’s efforts to ensure that port security enhancements are adequately funded. However, the Administration believes that the authorization in the bill for a dedicated port security grant program is unnecessary. The Administration has awarded more than $700 million in grants since September 11, 2001, to enhance physical security in the Nation’s seaports.

For 2006, Congress provided an additional $173 million in port security grant funding, which has yet to be awarded. The President’s FY 2007 Budget includes $600 million for
Targeted Infrastructure Protection grants to mitigate the threat of terrorism at the Nation’s highest-risk infrastructure sites, including ports. Given the significant resources dedicated to port security to date and requested in the Budget, the Administration believes that a new grant authorization would duplicate existing authorities and may inhibit the Administration’s ability to target resources most effectively to the sectors of the Nation’s infrastructure that face the highest risk.

The Administration recognizes the importance of seaport security training and exercises, but believes that the
Port Security Training and Port Security Exercise programs authorized in the bill are duplicative of existing Department of Homeland Security (DHS) programs and may also supplant private sector responsibilities. The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to address these and other concerns in order to strengthen and improve this important legislation.

 


RRF REDUCTIONS MAY BE EASED

The international maritime newsletter TradeWinds has reported that US legislators have moved to stop deep cuts in the commercially-operated Ready Reserve Force (RRF) cargo and support fleet. Last week the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) amended the draft Defense Authorization bill for 2007 with a clause requiring the US Department of Defense (DOD) to maintain the 58-strong fleet of aging vessels at present strength pending a study.

DOD, in consultation with the Department of Transportation (DOT), will be required to present the study, including a five-year plan for the military and civilian requirements to be served by the RRF, to Congress by March 2007. The RRF is held in readiness for military emergencies. However, a key issue in new lobbying for the provision was the recent civilian use of RRF ships in recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. The legislation if passed would appear to change the statutory mission of the fleet to reflect that capability.

The amendment, sponsored by Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) and Candice Miller (R-MI), is included in the HASC “mark-up” version of the bill. It is thought likely to survive when the full House votes and will thus be part of the basis for conference negotiations between Senate and House on the bill.

As reported in last week’s Wheelhouse Weekly, several of the eight US shipowners who hold RRF operations contracts have been told by MARAD to expect significant cuts in the number of RRF vessels by the end of fiscal year 2007 because of a lack of funds to recapitalize the fleet of aging ships. MM&P-contracted shipowners and operators who hold RRF contracts are Patriot Contract Services, Horizon Lines and Matson Navigation.


SHIPPING INDUSTRY AND CREWS CRUCIAL TO US FLU RESPONSE

According to published reports, the Bush administration’s new avian flu response plan highlights the crucial need to keep ports and shipping operational. Industry sources say that the government will soon approach the industry on co-operative emergency response plans. Citing the $140 million per day impact of the 2002 West Coast ports shutdown, the plan unveiled earlier this week argues against “complete border closure” in the event of a person-to-person outbreak overseas.

The report states that the influenza virus cannot remain viable on surfaces for more than 48 hours, therefore “ship-borne cargo poses the lowest risk of transmission” – with the exception of live avian or animal cargo. In the long run, the ability to maintain trade during a flu pandemic would hinge on the ‘absenteeism’ factor, as it is assumed that many necessary port and intermodal staff would abandon their posts.

The Bush administration will reportedly solicit shipping industry cooperation on a number of issues. These include the development of contingency plans to reduce economic impact and sustain service, identification of shipping strategies to minimize US shortages of food and fuel, and the creation of guidelines to minimize infection risks to port workers and ship crews.


MESSAGE FROM MARAD ON NATIONAL MOMENT OF REMEMBRANCE

Julie Nelson, Acting Deputy Maritime Administrator, has asked that the following message be forwarded to members of the US-flag maritime community:

“Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, offers the maritime community an opportunity to participate in the National Moment of Remembrance, an observance sponsored by the White House Commission on Remembrance, a bipartisan, independent executive branch agency.

As the Acting Deputy Maritime Administrator, I will be directing the ships of the Maritime Administration’s Ready Reserve Force to dress ship on that day and for all US merchant vessels at port and at sea, to ring their ship’s bells eight times at 1500Z (UCT). I will also be encouraging them to send an email to the Commission, with a picture if possible, at commission@remember.gov.

I urge all US-flag ships and all gatherings of members of the maritime industry to participate actively in the National Moment of Remembrance. Surely, we must remember the courageous men and women who have served this great country so bravely to ensure the many freedoms we enjoy every day, and surely, honoring them in this way is but a small token of our appreciation for the unspeakable debt we owe them.

This one short minute is a time to stop what we are doing and simply remember the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes, from the Revolutionary War to the present. I encourage you to use this brief break in the excitement of the day to honor not only members of the Armed Services, but also the US Merchant Marine and other civilians whose devotion to this country has defended and preserved the freedom all of us enjoy today.”


NATIONAL MARITIME DAY SET FOR MAY 22ND

May 22nd is National Maritime Day, first declared so by Congress in 1933. Its observance honors the contributions of the American Merchant Marine, civilians who have defended the freedom of the United States since 1775, and who executed the largest sealift the world has ever known during World War II. Observance of National Maritime Day also honors the maritime industry and the benefits it brings Americans in terms of transportation, jobs, goods, and recreational opportunities. Maritime Day observances will be held all over the country this year. For up-to-date info on National Maritime Day commemorative activities nationwide, go to www.marad.dot.gov.

National Maritime Day has been declared a Day of Remembrance and Prayer for Mariners and People of the Sea by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. This Day of Remembrance and Prayer will be observed nationwide for the first time on May 22nd.

If your organization is planning an observance for National Maritime Day, or during National Transportation Week (May 14-20, 2006), visit MARAD’s website, www.marad.dot.gov, click on “National Maritime Day” toolbar, and inform MARAD of your planned activities so that the information can be added to the calendar of events.


LA PORT WINS PRESTIGIOUS EPA AWARD

The Port of Los Angeles has won the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2006 Pacific Southwest Region Environmental Achievement Award. The award recognizes the LA Port for a variety of environmental initiatives, including Vessel Speed Reduction, Yard Tractor Modernization, Gateway Cities Truck Fleet
Modernization, Locomotive Fleet Modernization, and Clean Marinas programs.

The Port was recently awarded the 2005 Clean Air Excellence Award from the EPA in Washington, DC. The Port won the award for its Alternative Maritime Power (AMP) program, which significantly cuts air emissions by turning off diesel-burning container ship engines while at dock and plugging them into clean electrical power instead.


 

MITAGS ACADEMIC NOTES

Notice: Check the date of your MED-DOT-DA certificate. In accordance with CRF Title 49, Subtitle A, Part 40 –Procedures For Transportation Workplace Drug And Alcohol Testing Programs, a refresher must be taken every FIVE YEARS. MITAGS began offering MED-DOT-DA over five years ago, so if you were one of the first to attend, your certificate may have expired. Members attending MITAGS this summer, should consider staying aboard an extra day to attend MED-DOT-DA on any of the following Saturdays: 5/13, 6/10, 6/24, 7/29.

CLASS OPENINGS: Between January and the end of July 2006, seats are available in the following courses:


ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 6/5, 7/24
AZIPOD-KAM-2 – Two-Day Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 6/6, 8/5

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 5/15
BRMP – Bridge Resource Mangement for Pilots: 6/20
BST – Basic Safety Training: 5/22, 6/26

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 5/22, 6/26
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 6/12
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 6/19
*WX-BASREF-2 – Two day Basic weather refresher, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PREP for Advanced Meteorology: 6/22
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display and Info Systems: 5/15, 7/31
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 6/26
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management I (week 1): 6/19, 7/10
CMM-SHMGT-II – Ship Management II (week 2): 5/15, 6/12
CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 6/19, 7/24
CMM-SHS-ADV-II – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 5/29, 6/26, 7/31
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 6/5, 7/24
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 6/5

COMP-OPSYS – Basic Computer Operating Systems: 6/26
CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 6/9, 7/14
CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 5/15

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 5/22, 6/26

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 6/12, 7/13

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 6/8, 7/13
MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 6/10, 6/24, 7/29
MED-PIC – Medical Person-In-Charge: 6/5, 6/19, 7/24
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 6/5, 6/19, 7/24


[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 6/19
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 6/20
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 5/19, 6/23 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 5/22
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 6/5, 6/21, 7/15, 7/24

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 6/5, 7/10
SHS-BAS -Basic Shiphandling: 7/10
SHS-EMR – Emergency Shiphandling: 6/26, 7/31


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

Spring – Fall 2006

 

May 2006

5/22 Flashing Light
5/30-6/2 Orientation/RFPNW for New Mate 500/1600 Tons Program!

June 2006
6/5-9 ECDIS
6/5-9 ARPA
6/5-9 BST
6/6-9 Survival Craft (Lifeboatman)
6/5-23 TCNAV/CO
6/19-23 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
6/19-30 GMDSS
6/26-30 Radar Observer Unlimited
6/26-30 Basic Shiphandling

August 2006
31 Jul-4 Aug Basic Shiphandling
7-11 ECDIS
7-11 Basic Safety Training
7-11 Meteorology – Basic
8-11 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
14-18 Able Bodied Seaman
14-18 Basic and Advanced Firefighting
14-25 GMDSS
14-25 Shiphandling – Advanced
21-25 Ship Construction & Basic Stability
21-25 Tankerman Person-In-Charge
28-1 Sep Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic

September 2006
5-9 (tu-sa) Medical Care Provider
5-9 (tu-sa) Emergency Shiphandling 5-day
5-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
11-12 Search and Rescue
11-15 Basic Safety Training
11-23 100 Ton OUPV
12-15 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
13-15 Emergency Procedures
18-22 Radar Observer Unlimited
18-22 Shiphandling – Basic
18-22 Able Bodied Seaman
18-6 Oct Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation with Compasses
25th Radar Recertification
25-29 ARPA
25-2 Oct Watchkeeping & BRM

October
10/2-4 Ship Security Officer
10/2-4 Basic Safety Training
10/2-13 Shiphandling – Advanced
10/9-13 ECDIS
10/9-13 Radar Observer Unlimited
10/9-20 GMDSS
10/10-13 Survival Craft / Lifeboatman
10/16-20 Basic & Advanced Firefighting
10/23 Flashing Light
10/23-27 ARPA
10/23-27 Cargo Handling & Stowage – Basic
10/24-25 Simulation Assessment

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829

PMI MERCHANDISE FOR SALE!!!

High quality with embroidered PMI logo.
Navy or Khaki Hats : $16 / includes tax
———————————-
Button Down Long Sleeve Dress Shirts
Blue or Khaki: $38 / includes tax
———————————-
Pocket t-shirts with Logo: $12 / includes tax
————————————
15oz. Cobalt Blue Ceramic Mug: $8 / includes tax

Call DeeDee Lazik 206-838-8328 or e-mail dlazik@mates.org.


MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 5-11

 

 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
11,500.73 +61.93 for the week 2,246.06 -77.84 for the week 1,294.74 -17.51 for the week

 

Fund Name & Trading Symbol
Closing
Price
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)
120.51
 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)
37.66
 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)
24.82
 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)
18.71
 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)
33.38
 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)
10.02
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
6.14
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
9.77
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
20.46
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
16.44
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
35.87
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
92.91
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
22.48
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
82.01
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX) 46.30
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)
30.68

 






~ 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, broadcast worldwide via FEC marine telex and is posted on our web page.



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