Wheelhouse Weekly – September 04, 2012

September 4th 2012


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

Volume 16 . . . Number 36. . . Sept. 4, 2012


Did you miss a week? Back editions of the Wheelhouse Weekly are available in the section.


Reps. Rick Larsen and Frank LoBiondo have called on top administration officials to protect American jobs in the event that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is tapped to lessen pressure on oil prices. LoBiondo is chair of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation and Larsen is the subcommittee’s lead Democrat.

In response to news reports that the administration is considering tapping the SPR, the two called for full enforcement of the Jones Act requirement that shipments between U.S. ports be carried on U.S.-flagged vessels. “At a time when far too many Americans remain unemployed, priority must be given to addressing the needs of our own maritime workers,” LoBiondo and Larsen wrote in a letter to the U.S. Secretaries of Energy, Homeland Security and Transportation.

Their action comes on the heels of a similar move by Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings. “The Jones Act supports tens of thousands of domestic maritime and shipbuilding jobs and is critical to maintaining a domestic maritime industry,” Cummings wrote in a recent letter to President Obama. The Jones Act “is the cornerstone of our nation’s maritime industry… and should never be waived for the convenience of oil refiners or to the benefit of vessels from foreign nations,” Cummings said.


This year’s GOP platform calls for new laws that would undercut public and private sector labor unions, including an end to collective bargaining rights for all public sector employees and nationwide implementation of “right-to-work” laws. The party platform urges elected officials across the country to change their laws on public-sector unions to eliminate or curb the right of state employees to bargain collectively.

The National Labor Relations Board allows employers to recognize a union when a majority of workers sign cards saying they want to join. Unions prefer this path to recognition because companies often slow election campaigns to a snail’s pace, using the intervening time period to intimidate workers and worse. The Republican platform calls for barring unions nationwide from organizing based on the use of authorization cards and forcing them in every case to hold an election. 

The GOP also calls for repealing the Davis-Bacon Act, a law passed by Congress in 1931 that requires that all federal construction projects pay a prevailing wage, usually equal to or not far below union wage levels. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has gone on record saying that if he is elected, he will begin fighting to repeal Davis-Bacon and project labor agreements “on Day One.”

To view an excerpt of a Romney speech to the Association of Builders and Contractors in which he outlines his plans for unions, go to

Labor leaders are encouraging all union members to support the re-election of President Obama. The AFL-CIO has condemned the Romney-Ryan ticket, saying it “may be the dream of the extreme right, Tea Party Republican base and the wealthy, corporate financiers fueling the Romney campaign, but it is a nightmare for America’s working families.”


The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) said that 700 members of Local 1804-1, the largest local in the union, unanimously gave its president authority to recommend a strike. Members of the local who met last Tuesday in Newark gave ILA Atlantic Coast District President Dennis A. Daggett, “the authority to recommend and call for a strike if that action becomes necessary when the current Master Contract expires on September 30, 2012.” Negotiations between the ILA and waterfront employers broke down in August and there has been no indication by either side of a return to the bargaining table. MM&P is the marine affiliate of the ILA.


Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, issued the following statement for the Labor Day holiday: “As Americans take a well-deserved break this Labor Day weekend, we pause to recognize the dedication of those in the public and private sector hard at work helping tens of thousands affected by the wrath of Hurricane Isaac. Utility crews and first responders are battling massive floods to restore power and safe living conditions. Transportation workers are delivering urgently needed food and medical supplies to Gulf Coast residents and working to restore normalcy to the region’s mass transit services and highways.”

“On this day dedicated to working people, we renew our commitment to making the case for more federal investment in the backbone of the economy: our transportation system and its employees. Neglect is threatening the system and good jobs, reliable and long-term investments will turn it around, boost our economy and put people to work.”

“This Labor Day also reminds us that Americans will soon have a choice to make on Election Day: a choice between a President who wants to put millions of Americans to work rebuilding and expanding our failing transportation system and a challenger who has endorsed a plan that would ruin our transportation system and policies that would hollow out the middle class. We will dedicate the next 67 days to making sure our members understand this choice.”

“We make a solemn commitment to continue the fight for good jobs, the right to form and join unions and bargain collectively, and to impress upon our federal government and Congress the critical importance of a modern transportation system with a skilled workforce.”


Declining unionization was responsible for a third of the growth in wage inequality among men from 1973 to 2007, a new Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report finds. The drop in the rate of union membership explains a fifth of the growth of wage inequality among women over the same time period. The report previews data from the forthcoming book “The State of Working America, 12th Edition.”

The share of the workforce represented by unions declined from 26.7 percent to 13.1 percent from 1973 to 2011. The decline in union representation has lowered wages for middle-class workers both directly, as fewer benefit from a union wage advantage, and indirectly, as unions have less of an ability to set labor standards for all workers in occupations and industries.

From 1973 to 2007, the direct impact of declining unionization accounted for 20.2 percent of the growth of overall male wage inequality, and the indirect impact accounted for 13.7 percent, for a total of 33.9 percent, or roughly one-third. For women, declining unionization’s direct impact accounted for 9.2 percent of the growth of wage inequality, and the indirect impact explained 11.2 percent, for a total of 20.4 percent, or roughly one-fifth. Declining unionization has hurt male workers more than female workers because men were more likely than women to have been represented by unions when unions were strong.

“Unions reduce wage inequalities because they raise wages more at the bottom and in the middle of the wage scale than at the top,” said EPI President Lawrence Mishel. “It is not at all surprising that efforts to weaken unions have exacerbated both wage inequality and the divergence between overall productivity and the compensation of the typical worker.”

The union wage advantage–the percentage-higher wage earned by those covered by a collective bargaining contract–is currently 13.6 percent overall. Male workers have a union wage premium of 17.3 percent, and women have a union wage premium of 9.1 percent. A union wage premium exists in every dimension of the compensation package: unionized workers are 28.2 percent more likely to be covered by employer-provided health insurance and 53.9 percent more likely to have employer-provided pensions than nonunionized workers, and unionized workers receive 14.3 percent more paid time off.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) is an independent, nonprofit think tank that researches the impact of economic trends and policies on working people in the United States.


ABC News has reported that Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney toasted mega-donors to his campaign on Aug. 29 at a “floating party” hosted by a Florida developer on a Cayman Islands-flagged yacht. The event was one of a dozen parties celebrating individuals who have raised more than $1 million for the Romney campaign. The report was produced by journalists Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross, Megan Chuchmach and Rhonda Schwartz. “I think it’s ironic they do this aboard a yacht that doesn’t even pay its taxes,” a woman who lives aboard a much smaller vessel in the marina told the reporters. According to ABC News, about 50 people attended the party, including at least one billionaire. Most of the departing guests reportedly hid their name tags from reporters as they disembarked. To read the article, “Romney Party Yacht Flies Cayman Islands Flag,” go to:


The Associated Press reported on Saturday that Somali pirates who have been holding a hijacked ship for nearly two years killed a hostage crew member and wounded another on Aug. 29 to protest a delayed ransom payment. The dead crewmember was said to be of Syrian nationality. A spokesman for the pirate gang said Friday that the killing was a message to the owners of MV ORNA, which was hijacked off the coast of the Seychelles in 2010. The Associated Press quoted the pirate as saying the gang would kill more crew members if their demands were not met. MV ORNA is a Panama-flagged, bulk cargo vessel owned by a company in the United Arab Emirates.


Pirates attacked a Greek-owned oil tanker Aug. 29 off the coast of Togo, taking control of the bridge and kidnapping 24 seafarers. During the hijacking, the pirates exchanged gunfire with a Togolese naval patrol boat. The ship had been anchored about 17 nautical miles away from Lome, Togo’s capital. The attack is the latest to target West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea. Over the past year, piracy there has escalated from low-level armed robberies to hijackings and cargo thefts. The attack on the Greek oil tanker comes about a week after a similar attack on another tanker in the region. In that attack the pirates released the crew after stealing the oil onboard.


The MM&P Halls in the Gulf are open for business as usual today following Hurricane Isaac. The New Orleans Hall was closed as a precautionary measure for part of the day that the hurricane struck. None of the halls suffered damages in the storm.


The dates for the September meeting of the MM&P General Executive Board (GEB) have been changed to Sept. 19-20. The meeting will be held at MM&P headquarters in Linthicum Heights, MD.


The Offshore Familiarization Course, formerly called the D-Book Membership Course, will be held at regular intervals throughout 2012.

The schedule is as follows (but please note that course dates may change depending on the number of participants who sign up): Sept. 7-8 at MM&P Headquarters; Oct. 9-10 in New Jersey; Oct. 17-18 in Los Angeles; Nov. 7-8 in Houston.

There is no sea-time requirement to take the course. All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are urged to attend.

If you want to attend the course, please RSVP to the local hiring hall where the class is offered or, in the case of a course planned for headquarters, to MM&P Membership Secretary Mary Seidman:


A new website designed specifically for activists belonging to maritime unions has gone live. The website is the creation of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), whose members include 708 unions representing over 4.5 million transport workers in 154 countries.
The ITF created the site,, to encourage future union leaders and active members to share ideas, stories and experiences and to engage with each other via blog and linked Facebook facilities.

The website has a secure area for participants of the Maritime Roundtable, a conference on flag-of-convenience shipping that will take place in Casablanca Sept. 25-7. The roundtable is part of a new ITF campaign to build maritime union power through grass roots activism. The MM&P Government Relations Director was selected by the ITF to represent U.S. maritime labor at the roundtable.
About 200 activists and future union leaders are taking part in the MRT. Longshore and maritime union members who are interested but not in attendance are being encouraged to sign up as virtual participants so they can have a say on issues that matter to maritime workers and to network via the dockers-seafarers site.“Through this event we hope to keep the network of skilled and proactive dockers and seafarers working together and supporting each other far beyond September,” said an ITF spokesperson.

The ITF is unique amongst international trade union organizations in having a powerful influence on wages and conditions of seafarers working on FOC ships. FOCs provide a means of avoiding labor regulation in the country of ownership, and become a vehicle for paying low wages and forcing long hours of work and unsafe working conditions. Since FOC ships have no real nationality, they are beyond the reach of any single national seafarers’ trade union.


Try our on-line calendar to register for class:

For class availability or information on courses and programs, contact MITAGS Admissions Coordinator Kelly Michielli toll free at 866-656-5568 or e-mail her at

Between now and the end of September, the following courses are scheduled at MITAGS.

AB – Able Bodied Seaman: 10/15

AIS-1 – Automatic Identification Systems (one day): 10/10

ARPA – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 9/25, 10/23, 12/3

AZIPOD (2-DAY) for Pilots: 10/11, 11/12

BRM – Bridge Resource Management: 10/19

BRMP – Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  11/29

BST – Basic Safety Training: 10/8

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 9/10, 11/12

CMM-ADVNAV – Advanced Navigation (=ECDIS & VPEN): 10/22

CMM-ADVSTB – Advanced Stability: 10/1, 12/17

CMM-CHS – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 10/8

CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 11/12

CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 11/26

CMM-SHMGT – Ship Management (2 weeks): 9/17, 12/3

CMM-SHS-ADV-I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 9/10, 9/4, 10/22, 11/5, 11/26, 12/10

CMM-SHS-ADV-I I – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 9/17, 10/1, 10/29, 11/12, 12/3, 12/17

CMM-WKP – Advanced Watchkeeping: 11/5

CHS-BAS – Basic Cargo Handling & Stowage: 10/22

CNAV – Celestial Navigation: 11/5

CONSTAB – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: 12/15

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning: 11/10

ECDIS-ENAV (2 DAY) for Pilots: 10/11

ENVIRO-Regs Permit – Environmental Regulations Permit: 11/8

EP – Emergency Procedures: 10/17

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 10/8

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 11/26

LAP – License Advancement Program for Chief Mate & Master: 9/17

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 10/10, 11/29

MEDIA RSP – Media Response Workshop: 11/6

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 9/17, 10/15, 12/3

MED-PIC -R– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 11/12

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 9/17, 10/15, 10/29, 12/3

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 9/22, 10/20, 12/8

MSC -SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualification: 10/1, 11/12

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control (4 Evenings): 10/1

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 10/5

RFPNW – Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch: 10/1

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 9/14, 10/3, 10/17, 10/31, 11/14, 12/5, 12/12

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 9/24, 10/11

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal: 10/7, 11/26

SAR – Search & Rescue: 10/15

SEC-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 11/7

SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling: 10/8, 11/16

SHS-ESH-BRMP3 – Emergency Shiphandling and Bridge Resource Management for Pilots:  10/8

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling:  10/15

WX-BAS – Basic Meteorology: 9/17

WKP-BAS – Watchkeeping Basic (2 weeks): 10/1

… Remember: If you can’t make the class, make the call. Be courteous, don’t be a “no show.”

Check the MITAGS website at for course descriptions associated with the course title abbreviations, and schedule revisions.


Schedule of Courses – Please also see our schedule online at For registration, call our registrar, Jennifer Pitzen, at (206) 838-1126.

September 2012

5-6     Vessel Security Officer
10-14   Radar Observer Unlimited
10-14   Bridge Resource Management w/ Simulation
10-21   Celestial Navigation
17-21   Basic Construction and Stability
17-28   GMDSS
24-27   ARPA
24-28   Able Bodied Seaman
24-28   Medical Care Provider

MM&P MARKET WATCH AS OF 9-4-2012 at 2:00 p.m.

D O W N A S D A Q S & P 500
13,013 3,058 1,400

Mutual Funds (Live)

Click a mutual fund for more information.
Click the right or left arrow on the right side of the ticker to browse the mutual funds.

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. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973; Email: For further info or to subscribe contact Lisa Rosenthal at The Wheelhouse Weekly is sent via Email to MM&P-contracted vessels at sea and is posted on our web page.

© 2012, 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: For changes of address, contact Lisa Rosenthal at