Wheelhouse Weekly – October 31, 2002

October 31st 2002


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

Volume 6 . . . . . Number 44 . . . . . October 31, 2002






With just several days left before the November 5 election, working families and their unions have intensified their grassroots campaign to get out the union vote.

Thirty-four US Senate seats and the entire House of Representatives are on the ballot.

Union volunteers throughout the country are combining issues education and one-to-one, member-to-member contact through phone banks, precinct walks and mailings to ensure a large union turnout.

On Election Day, more than 100,000 grassroots union volunteers are expected to knock on doors, make phone calls and hand out fliers at workplaces urging workers to vote. The union movement’s get-out-the-vote efforts have played a decisive role in past elections and will make a difference in the 2002 vote. Voters from union households represented 26 percent of the vote overall in 2000, up from 19 percent just four years earlier when the union movement launched its get-out-the-vote effort.

Which candidates should MM&P members, pensioners and their families support on November 5? The Masters, Mates & Pilots Political Contribution Fund (PCF) is an excellent place to look for guidance.

The PCF is a non-partisan fund supported exclusively through voluntary contributions from MM&P members and pensioners. Political contributions from the MM&P’s PCF are made to candidates running for election to State or Federal office without regard to party affiliation or ideology.

The only criterion used to determine who receives financial support from the MM&P’s PCF is the candidate’s position on issues important to the growth of the US-flag merchant marine and to the jobs and economic well-being of MM&P members, pensioners, and their families.

Using this criterion, the MM&P’s PCF is supporting the following individuals for election to the US House of Representatives and US Senate. These individuals have clearly indicated their support for a strong, competitive US-flag merchant marine and for programs such as the Maritime Security Program, the Jones Act, the cargo preference statutes, and tax equity for merchant mariners and other maritime tax reform initiatives. All of these programs are vitally important to the survival and growth of the maritime industry.

If you need help finding your Congressional district number, or want any additional info about your Congressman or Senator, or your State or District is not listed, please contact MM&P Headquarters at or MM&P’s D.C. office at


Among those seeking election to the US Senate whom MM&P is supporting are:

 Alabama  Senator Jeff Sessions  Republican
 Alaska  Senator Ted Stevens  Republican
 Arkansas  Mark Pryor  Democrat
 Colorado  Ted Strickland  Democrat
 Georgia  Senator Max Cleland  Democrat
 Iowa  Senator Tom Harkin  Democrat
 Louisiana  Senator Mary Landrieu  Democrat
 Mississippi  Senator Thad Cochran  Republican
 Missouri  Senator Jean Carnahan  Democrat
 Montana  Senator Max Baucus  Democrat
 New Hampshire  Jeanne Shaheen  Democrat
 New Jersey  Frank Lautenberg  Democrat
 Oregon  Senator Gordon Smith  Republican
 Rhode Island  Senator Jack Reed  Democrat
 South Carolina  Lindsay Graham  Republican
 South Dakota  Senator Tim Johnson  Democrat
 Tennessee  Bill Clement  Democrat
 Virginia  Senator John Warner  Republican


Among those seeking election to the US House of Representatives MM&P is supporting (listed by state and Congressional district number) are:


  • Congressman Don Young (Rep.)


  • Congressman Wally Herger (Rep.­2)
  • Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (Dem.­8)
  • Cong. Barbara Lee (Dem.-9)
  • Cong. Mike Honda (Dem.-15)
  • Dennis Cardoza (Dem.-18)
  • Cong. Brad Sherman (Dem.-24)
  • Cong. Lucille Roybal-Allard (Dem.-33)
  • Cong. Juanita Millender-McDonald (Dem.-37)
  • Linda Sanchez (Dem.-39)
  • Cong. Loretta Sanchez (Dem.-46)
  • Cong. Susan Davis (Dem.-49)
  • Cong. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (Rep.-51)
  • Cong. Duncan Hunter (Rep.-52)


  • Cong. John Larson (Dem.-1)
  • Cong. Rob Simmons (Rep.-2)
  • Cong. Jim Maloney (Dem.-3)


  • Cong. Corrine Brown (Dem.-3)
  • Cong. Karen Thurman (Dem.-5)
  • Cong. Bill Young (Rep.-10)
  • Kendrick Meek (Dem.-17)
  • Cong. Peter Deutsch (Dem.-20)
  • Cong. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Rep.-21)
  • Mario Diaz-Balart (Rep.-25)


  • Congressman Neil Abercrombie (Dem.-1)


  • Congressman Lane Evans (Dem.-17)


  • Cong. David Vitter (Rep.-1)
  • Cong. Bill Jefferson (Dem.-2)
  • Cong. Jim McCrery (Rep.-4)
  • Clyde Holloway (Rep.-5)
  • Cong. Richard Baker (Rep.-6)
  • Cong. Chris John (Dem.-7)


  • Cong. Wayne Gilchrest (Rep.-1)
  • Cong. Ben Cardin (Dem-3)
  • Cong. Albert Wynn (Dem.-4)
  • Cong. Steny Hoyer (Dem.-5)
  • Cong. Elijah Cummings (Dem.-7)


  • Cong. John Olver (Dem.-1)
  • Cong. Jim McGovern (Dem.-3)
  • Cong. Mike Capuano (Dem.-8)
  • Cong. Stephen Lynch (Dem.-9)
  • Cong. William Delahunt (Dem.-10)


  • Congressman Bart Stupak (Dem.-1)


  • Congressman Bill Luther (Dem.-6)
  • Congressman Jim Oberstar (Dem.-8)


  • Cong. Bennie Thompson (Dem.-2)
  • Cong. Chip Pickering (Rep.-3)
  • Cong. Gene Taylor (Dem.-5)


  • Congressman Richard Gephardt (Dem.-3)
  • Congressman Ike Skelton (Dem.-4)

New Jersey

  • Cong. Frank LoBiondo (Rep.-2)
  • Cong. Jim Saxton (Rep.-3)
  • Cong. Chris Smith (Rep.-4)
  • Cong. Mike Ferguson (Rep.-7)
  • Cong. Bill Pascrell (Dem.-8)
  • Cong. Steve Rothman (Dem.-9)
  • Cong. Don Payne (Dem.-10)
  • Cong. Robert Menendez (Dem.-13)

New York

  • Cong. Felix Grucci (Rep.-1)
  • Cong. Steve Israel (Dem.-2)
  • Cong. Peter King (Rep.-3)
  • Cong. Carolyn McCarthy (Dem.-4)
  • Cong. Gregory Meeks (Dem.-6)
  • Cong. Joseph Crowley (Dem.-7)
  • Cong. Charlie Rangel (Dem.-15)
  • Cong. Jose Serrano (Dem.-16)
  • Cong. Eliot Engel (Dem.-17)
  • Cong. Nita Lowey (Dem.-18)
  • Cong. Tom Reynolds (Dem.-27)
  • Cong. Jack Quinn (Rep.-30)


  • Congressman Earl Blumenauer (Dem.-3)
  • Congressman Peter DeFazio (Dem.-4)


  • Cong. Tim Holden (Dem.-6)
  • Cong. Joseph Hoeffel (Dem.-13)
  • Ed O’Brien (Dem.-15)

Rhode Island

  • Congressman Patrick Kennedy (Dem.-1)
  • Congressman Jim Langevin (Dem.-2.)


  • Cong. Rick Larsen (Dem.-2)
  • Cong. Brian Baird (Dem.-3)
  • Cong. Norm Dicks (Dem.-6)
  • Cong. Jim McDermott (Dem.-7)
  • Cong. Adam Smith (Dem.-9)


  • Congressman David Obey (Dem.-7)


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



In addition to 36 US Senate seats and the entire US House of Representatives, 36 governors’ offices, most state legislatures and hundreds of other key state and local offices are on the November 5 ballot.

In Maryland, MM&P has endorsed Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend for governor.

The AFL-CIO has devoted a special section of their website to help provide education about election issues to union members. Included is info about candidates’ records and endorsements of pro-working family candidates.

Endorsements for federal and statewide offices are made by state union movements based on a candidate’s record and commitments to policies that advance the interests of working families. Political party is not a factor in the endorsement process.

To learn which candidates have earned endorsements of state AFL-CIOs for federal and statewide offices see


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The organized labor movement is mourning the loss of Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), who died in a plane crash October 25 along with his wife, Sheila, his daughter, Marcia, three campaign staff members and two pilots. Paul and Sheila are survived by two sons, David and Mark.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney said Wellstone “was tireless and unapologetic for championing the rights of working men and women — even when he stood alone. Paul Wellstone refused to shrink his vision or abandon his principles, and our nation’s workers are the better for it. America’s working men and women had no better friend.”

Wellstone, 58, a former college professor and organizer, was elected to the Senate in 1990 and re-elected in 1996. He was a candidate for re-election on November 5. To read comments from affiliated unions, visit .


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



It is anticipated that merchant marine personnel will be one of the key assets needed to conduct an operation in the Middle East. The Maritime Administration and the Military Sealift Command are currently focusing on deployment needs. Further info is available on the “Wheelhouse Weekly” page of the MM&P website under “Reminders” .

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The International Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) is charging the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) with sabotaging contract negotiations.

The ILWU has filed a complaint with the Labor Relations Committee (LRC) charging the PMA with contributing to the congestion at the ports by refusing to hire sufficient dockworkers to efficiently handle the cargo containers and other freight that collected during the 10-day lockout at 29 West Coast ports.

The LRC is part of the federal inquiry board established under the Taft-Hartley Act. As previously reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly, the 10,500 members of the ILWU returned to work October 9 after the Bush administration, for the first time ever, invoked the Act to end an employer lockout. A federal judge imposed an 80-day “cooling-off” period.

The ILWU complaint says the PMA is deliberately understaffing the docks, trying to set the stage to claim the union is violating the judge’s order.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The National Industrial Transportation League, a long-standing foe of the Jones Act, is using the congestion created by the PMA’s 10-day lockout of the ILWU at West Coast ports as an excuse to request a waiver so that foreign-flag ships can transport cargoes meant for US-flag vessels.

In response to this blatant attack on the Jones Act, MM&P International President Capt. Tim Brown and Maritime Institute for Research and Industrial Development President Jim Patti have sent a strongly-worded letter to US Customs Service Commissioner Robert Bonner. The letter states the MM&P’s and MIRAID’s outright opposition to the granting of any Jones Act waiver. The following excerpts are from the October 30 letter:

“On behalf of the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO (MM&P), and the Maritime Institute for Research and Industrial Development (MIRAID), we are writing to express our strong opposition to a request from the National Industrial Transportation League that the existing domestic shipping statutes, commonly referred to as the Jones Act, be waived in order to ease port congestion on the West Coast.

“The Jones Act, one of the cornerstones of American maritime policy, requires that cargo moving directly or indirectly between ports in the United States be transported on vessels that are built in and documented under the laws of the US, and owned by citizens of the US. The American maritime workers and shipping companies our organizations represent include many who are actively engaged in the transportation of cargo in the US domestic shipping trades.

“As a result of the full implementation of the Jones Act, these workers and companies have helped create a highly productive and competitive US-flag domestic fleet comprised of vessels owned and crewed by citizens of the United States and built by American workers in American shipyards. In fact, the strict adherence over the years to the requirements of the Jones Act has resulted in a US domestic fleet that has among the highest productivity records of any American industry, providing cost-effective, environmentally sound, and timely and efficient service to American shippers.

“We strongly believe that the request for a Jones Act waiver is totally without foundation and should be quickly and soundly rejected by the Bureau of Customs. In our opinion, and that of the US Maritime Administration (MARAD), there is no overriding national defense rationale for granting the requested waiver as required by law.

“We agree with the statement made by United States Maritime Administrator Captain William Schubert in his October 9, 2002, letter to you that: “The Maritime Administration does not believe that these current circumstances meet the definition of ‘the interest of national defense’, and hereby requests that the Customs Service instruct all of its personnel to enforce the provisions of the Jones Act.”

Capt. Brown and Jim Patti concluded the letter by noting that,

“Finally, we also believe that the requested waiver is unnecessary and unwarranted. It is our clear understanding as evidenced by information provided by MARAD and by the domestic shipping companies we represent that there is sufficient tonnage available to handle the movement of cargo on the West Coast. In fact, granting the requested waiver, even for a temporary period, would do little more than reward foreign shipping companies at the expense of domestic shipping operations.

“There is no rational reason why domestic shipping companies, who have built and operated commercial vessels in accordance with the requirements of the Jones Act, should lose commercial business opportunities to foreign flag vessel operators who have participated in the lockout of American workers in West Coast ports and who, by their own actions, created the congestion they are now complaining about.

“We again ask that you continue to support the domestic shipping statutes and the US-flag domestic shipping industry by rejecting this unwarranted request for a Jones Act waiver.”

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Class Openings

Plenty of seats remain in Advanced Fire Fighting, BST, Computer, and GMDSS classes between now and the end of the year.

New 2-day Damage Control Class on November 14-15 is wide open.

Basic Shiphandling class beginning December 2 still has 3 open slots.


DOT Training for D&A

The 1-day course satisfying the new DOT requirements for Breath Alcohol Technician (BAT) and Screening Test Technician (STT) will be presented at MITAGS:

  • November 9
  • December 14, 17, 18, 19, and 20

Contact admissions for seat availability.

One-day classes at the Halls are also scheduled for:

  • Boston (November 18)
  • Jacksonville (November 20)
  • New Orleans (November 22); and
  • New York (December 3-4).

To maximize resources, MITAGS is focusing on providing the 1-day training east of the Mississippi and PMI is developing a schedule with coverage in the West. Seats should be arranged through the respective halls.


Seasonal Reminders

Students planning to attend MITAGS around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays need to book airline tickets as soon as possible. Reduced availability and higher prices are already evident. Also, with the temperature now starting to drop, Small Arms attendees need to remember that a day-and-a-half will be spent on an outdoor range.


Schedules, Course Info & Registration

You can now check schedules, review detailed course descriptions and register on-line or contact Admissions at or 443-989-3226.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Class Openings through November:

  • 11/11-15: ARPA
  • 11/15-22: Med 1/MPIC
  • 11/18-19: MAXIMO
  • 11/18-22: RADAR

For the latest up-to-date info on class schedules, visit the PMI website at


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



 D O W

 N A S D A Q


-66.80 for the week


 +6.50 for the week
 Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX)


 Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund (VEXMX)


 Vanguard International Growth Fund (VWIGX)


 Vanguard Morgan Growth Fund (VMRGX)


 Vanguard Windsor II Fund (VWNFX)


 Vanguard GNMA Fund (VFIIX)


 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)


 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)


 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)


Fidelity Magellan Fund (FAGX)


 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)



MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly

~ Reminders ~




MM&P International President Capt. Tim Brown and Executive Asst. Mike Rodriguez recently attended a meeting with the US Coast Guard, the Maritime Administration and the Military Sealift Command focusing on the assets needed to conduct an operation in the Middle East.

Deployment and time frames are still being discussed. Below is what the Union knows as of this time.

It is anticipated that merchant marine personnel will be key to this operation. MM&P, MEBA and AMO have a cooperative agreement so that if any of the unions’ contracted vessels need personnel and the contracted union cannot supply licensed marine officers, one of the other unions will staff these billets.

Within the next few days, MM&P will be sending a letter to all MM&P applicants, to retirees who retired within the last 3 years, and retirees that retired within the last 4-7 years. The purpose of the letter will be to ascertain your current address, the validity of your license, whether or not you have STCW-95, and other personnel data.

There are plans underway to provide a fast track STCW-95 course for those needing it as well as providing assistance in revalidating your license if it has expired.

In the case of retirees, you will be able to return to covered employment without the fear of exceeding the earnings limitation for health care. However, no additional pension credits will be provided for any service that you may render to your country during this emergency employment.

Since Desert Shield/Desert Storm, American Merchant Mariners have been provided with re-employment rights. These rights will insure that your present employer will give your current employment position back when you return from service with the MM&P in this type of deployment.

More details will be forthcoming in future issues of the Wheelhouse Weekly as they become known.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




This is a reminder that effective October 1, 2002, the MM&P Plan’s contract with Prudential Dental expired. Prudential was purchased by Aetna/US HealthCare in 2001 and could no longer offer the Plan the same type of fee-for-service arrangement as before.

In order to continue to offer Plan Participants an in-network dental benefit option, the Plan reviewed proposals from organizations that provide network dental services. After review, the Trustees approved a contract with Delta Dental, the largest provider of dental services in the US.

The Delta Dental Claims Processing Center in Mechanicsburg, PA, will handle claims administration for all MM&P eligible participants and dependents. This includes claims submitted by out of network dentists as well as those who are Delta Dental providers.

Plan participants who choose to go to a contracted provider will pay 10 percent of the contracted amount and the Plan will pay 90 percent. Participants will have access to all Delta providers in the Delta Premier Network option that includes over 133,000 dentists nationwide.



~ Where Does My Dentist Submit My Claims?

Effective October 1, 2002, all dental claims with dates of service on or after October 1, 2002, from both in and out-of-network providers, should be sent directly to: Delta Dental, One Delta Drive, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6999. Participants will receive a claim form in the mailing sent out by the Plan Office on August 11. Your dentist can copy this form and use it to submit all dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002.

~ How Do I Find A Delta Dentist?

You can locate participating dentists in your area in two ways. You can call 1-800-932-0783 from 8 AM to 8 PM Eastern Time, Monday-Friday, or you can sign on to the Delta website at Once you have signed on to the website, key on the bar marked “Pennsylvania”. (MM&P Plan members are enrolled in the Delta Premier Option through Delta Dental of Penn.) Next enter the search criteria to find participating Delta dentists in your area or enter your own dentist’s name to find out if he/she participates with the Premier network.



Delta Dental will coordinate with the Plan Office to transition all billing for “work in process”. This means that all root canals, orthodontia work and other staged procedures that are not completed under the old arrangement will be carried over and the remaining balance billing, for work performed on or after October 1, 2002 will be processed by Delta Dental.

It is important to remember that all work that has been pre-determined by Prudential/Aetna must be completed and billed with a billing date on or prior to September 30, 2002, in order to assure that your co-pay will remain the same as quoted in the initial pre-determination.

Any work started under the old Plan but billed for date of service on or after October 1, 2002 will be reimbursed according to whether the dentist is participating in the Delta Dental network. If your dentist is not a participating dentist, the balance billing will be paid at the out-of-network rate of 80 percent of the Plan’s UCR schedules.



All questions about any dental claims incurred on or after October 1, 2002, including claims submitted by out-of-network providers, should be directed to Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783. You have been provided with a Delta claim form to forward to your dentist, however, your dentist may submit any standard dental billing form as long as the bill is sent directly to Delta at the above listed address.



Participants will be receiving a brochure in early October that will include a perforated generic identification card. This card lists the telephone number and the billing address for Delta. You are not required to carry an identification card because your social security number and birth date will identify you as an eligible participant in the Delta Dental Network.

It is important to remember that MM&P claims will be processed by Delta Dental of Pennsylvania. You or your dentist can access your eligibility by calling either the Plan Office or Delta Dental at 1-800-932-0783.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly




MM&P’s General Executive Board met on October 3-4. One item of particular note is that the Offshore Advisory Committee established quotas for admittance to the Offshore Membership Group.

Effective October 4, 2002, no member of any membership group, including the Offshore Unlicensed Membership Group, may transfer into the Offshore Licensed Membership Group without having been a member of the organization for at least as long as the length of time that the lowest applicant admitted into membership has in the organization.

Please see your local Offshore Vice President for additional information.


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MM&P has established a Fund to receive donations on behalf of Gisele Schmidt, the daughter of Brother Gary Schmidt. Gisele, who is 21, was rendered paralyzed as the result of a tragic auto accident in March.

Please Note: The fund is open only through December 31, 2002.

Contributions may be made payable to the:

Gisele Schmidt Fund c/o MM&P 700 Maritime Blvd. Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



A memorial fund has been established in the memory of recently deceased MM&P member Jerry Backman. Jerry shipped out of San Francisco and was 49-years old at the time of his tragic death as the result of an auto accident last month.

He will be affectionately remembered as a loyal union brother, outstanding licensed deck officer and a fine person. Jerry leaves a widow, a 22-year old daughter and a 15-year old son.

Donations on behalf of Jerry will be used to assist with the education of his children. The Backman family is privately managing the fund. They are most appreciative of all the messages expressing sympathy and the positive stories from his shipmates and friends.

Contributions can be sent to:

The Jerry B. Backman Memorial Fund c/o Bank of the West 2900 Railroad Avenue Pittsburg, CA 94565    

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



Members are reminded that the Masters, Mates & Pilots Federal Credit Union is offering vehicle loans as low as 5.25 percent. Rates range from 5.25 to 6.99 percent for terms of 24 to 60 months. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a new, used or a refinanced vehicle.

These rates are also in effect for new or used recreational vehicles, motorcycles or boats. Limited funds available at this rate, certain terms and conditions apply.

MM&P Federal Credit Union membership is open to all MM&P members, to all MM&P, MITAGS, MIRAID and Plans staff, and to their immediate families.

Rates and terms of offer are subject to change. Call Kathy Klisavage, Credit Union Manager, toll free 1-800-382-7777 or Email for all the details.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



MM&P-contracted AHL Shipping maintains a “job line” that provides info on available rotary jobs. Information is posted at the beginning of each month for the current month. It is only updated during the month if an error occurred in the original month’s posting. All jobs continue to be posted and shipped out of the Union Halls, the line is for info purposes only. The job line may be reached by calling 504-522-3300 and requesting the Job Line at extension 10.

MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly



The USCG has issued a Safety Alert reporting that a high percentage of antennas attached to Satellite 406 Category I EPIRBs, product number 2754, manufactured by ACR Electronics, have failed.

On several occasions the antenna’s outer rubber coating was discovered ripped or torn. Closer inspection often revealed extensive internal corrosion. Other antennas showed no perforations on the outer rubber coating but displayed bulges on the antennae near its base. Upon closer inspection when the bulging area was sliced open, total wastage of the antennae interior was revealed.

It is reported that evidence of a corrosion failure may be discovered when the antenna is unscrewed from the EPIRB body assembly. Rusty liquid dripping from the antenna or moisture present inside the threaded section are tell-tale signs of failing equipment.

The company will replace damaged antennas at no cost.

If similar problems are encountered with your vessel’s 2754 EPIRB antenna, contact ACR Electronics Customer Service Representatives at 800-432-0227, ext. 110 to receive a replacement antenna.

The USCG strongly recommends that vessel operators carefully examine their EPIRB antennas, particularly those manufactured by ACR Electronics.


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 or to subscribe 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.

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