Wheelhouse Weekly – September 29, 2006

September 29th 2006


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

Volume 10 . . . . . Number 39. . . . September 29, 2006




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.



The MM&P has received several reports from ports in California where containers, cones, lashings, and other items have been dropped onto bunker barges that were alongside re-fueling ships that were working cargo. Fortunately, there have been no injuries or loss of life reported, and damages have been minimal. All hands should be aware of this safety warning. This subject (safety for bunker barges alongside vessels that are still working cargo) will be a point for discussion and deliberation at the upcoming meeting of the LA/LB Harbor Safety Committee on October 4th at the Port of Long Beach Administration Building beginning at 0930 hrs.



The September-October issue of The Master, Mate & Pilot will arrive in your mailbox soon. In the meantime, look for it online on our Web site, . In this issue of The Master, Mate & Pilot:

  • special report on the 81st MM&P Convention;
  • maritime labor stands united on the Transportation Workers Identity Card proposal and the National Security Personnel System;
  • limits on terminal access continue to plague seafarers, shipowners in some US and international ports;
  • labor rallies behind MM&P and the Inland Boatmen’s Union in Alcatraz Ferry stand-off;
  • MM&P-crewed USNS APACHE in dramatic fire-fighting and rescue operations;
  • in “Kentucky River” decisions, National Labor Relations Board expected to strip millions of their right to join a union;
  • International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) launches campaign to combat fatigue at sea; plus photos from the MAUNALEI christening.

To download a copy of The Master, Mate & Pilot, just go to , click on “MM&P Magazine” and then on “Download Current Issue.”


Senator Daniel Akaka, (D-HI), a long-time friend and supporter of the US-flag maritime industry, won his primary election on September 23rd, turning back a challenge from Congressman Ed Case, a staunch opponent of the Jones Act. During the primary campaign, Congressman Case attempted to convince the voters that Senator Akaka’s support of the Jones Act was “anti-consumer” and that if elected, he, Case, would work to repeal this domestic shipping statute. Maritime industry representatives in Hawaii, including MM&P Representative Randy Swindell, responded to Congressman Case’s unfounded attacks on the Jones Act and helped to educate the voters as to the importance of the Jones Act to our nation’s economic and military security.


Earlier this week, dozens of boat captains, deckhands, engineers and maintenance workers from MM&P’s United Inland Membership Group and the Inland Boatman’s Union (IBU) rallied in front of San Francisco’s Pier 31-1/2 in protest of Alcatraz ferry employee layoffs. The action came on the first day that Hornblower Cruises & Events, a non-union operation, took over the ferry business from longtime operator MM&P- and IBU-contracted Blue and Gold Fleet. Late last year, Hornblower was awarded a 10-year contract to operate service to the federally-owned island.

As reported in the Wheelhouse Weekly earlier this year, MM&P and IBU members have been in talks with Hornblower since the beginning of the year to ensure employees at both unions retain their jobs when the changeover occurred.

Officials for both unions said this week’s protest was prompted because despite months of negotiations about 55 Blue and Gold Fleet MM&P and IBU employees were laid off at midnight Sunday, when the contract was handed over to Hornblower. The Mayor of San Francisco has asked that both sides observe a “cooling off” period until September 30th at midnight to allow for two more days of negotiations on Friday and Saturday.

MM&P UIG San Francisco Branch Agent Capt. Ray Shipway said that he would have more specific details after negotiating through this weekend and reports that the protest has received excellent media coverage throughout the SF Bay area. On one TV news broadcast Shipway said, “We’ve been working (with Hornblower’s lawyer) for eight months and we still have no assurance they are going to hire our workers. The crews coming off the boat at Blue & Gold have 30 years combined experience.” US House of Representatives Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and AFL-CIO President John Sweeney have both issued strong statements in support of the retention of MM&P and IBU jobs aboard the Alcatraz ferry service.


MIRAID President Jim Patti reports another success in the ongoing National Security Personnel System (NSPS) battle. The House and Senate conferees on the FY ’07 Defense appropriations legislation have agreed to include language that essentially prohibits DOD from spending any money to implement any portion of the NSPS deemed unlawful by the courts. The conference agreement is similar to the provision added to the House bill by Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Walter Jones (R-NC). Consequently, as long as the courts conclude that a section or provision or aspect of NSPS should not be implemented as written, DOD cannot spend money to do so. A coalition of unions that includes the MM&P has been instrumental in opposing the implementation of NSPS.


The Coast Guard has announced the availability of, and seeks public comment on, a draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) to replace the existing NVIC 2-98, “Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner’s Documents and Licenses.”

The new proposed NVIC is entitled “Medical and Physical Evaluation Guidelines for Merchant Mariner Credentials.” It will be officially numbered if and when it becomes effective. The contents of this NVIC were developed from recommendations and input provided by the Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee (MERPAC) and experienced maritime community medical practitioners. A copy of the proposed NVIC has been posted to the public docket and is available on the Internet at, under this docket number [USCG 2006-25080].

Due of the potential serious effect this could have on MM&P members, the draft NVIC is currently under review at MM&P HQ so that a comprehensive union policy statement can be developed and then circulated to all ports for review. For more info, contact Executive Assistant to the President Mike Rodriguez or Director of Special Projects Richard Plant at MM&P HQ. Rodriguez can be reached at 410-850-8700 ext. 23 or by email at Plant can be reached by at 410-850-8700 ext. 36 or by email at: It is also requested that a copy of any comments submitted by members to the USCG docket be forwarded to MM&P HQ so that the union can remain current with what is being stated for the record.


The USCG has announced that it is exercising authority currently set forth in Coast Guard regulations to require all first class pilots on vessels greater than 1600 GRT, and other individuals who “serve as” pilots on certain types of vessels greater than 1,600 gross registered tons (GRT), to provide a copy of their annual physical examination to the USCG.

The notice states that all first class pilots on vessels greater than 1,600 GRT, and other individuals who “serve as” pilots on certain types of vessels greater than 1,600 GRT must submit a copy of their most recent annual physical examination to the USCG on or before December 27, 2006. After that, pilots must submit a copy of their annual physical examination to the USCG no later than 30 calendar days after completion of the physical examination each year. The annual physical examination must, by regulation, be completed within 30 calendar days of the anniversary date of the individual’s most recent satisfactorily completed physical examination.

This notice implements the recommendation made by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), in their report on the 2003 collision of the Staten Island Ferry ANDREW J. BARBERI, that the Coast Guard require submission of annual pilot physicals. The USCG agrees with the NTSB that it is not effective to require pilots to undergo annual physical examinations without an affirmative obligation for pilots to actually submit them to the Coast Guard for review. Title 46 CFR 10.709 already requires that first class pilots on vessels of 1600 GRT or more provide the USCG with a copy of their most recent annual physical examination upon request, and that this physical examination must meet the requirements specified in Title 46 CFR 10.205(d). This includes those individuals who “serve as” pilots. Individuals who “serve as” pilots on vessels of not more than 1600 GRT in accordance with do not have an annual physical examination requirement.

This notice is currently under review at MM&P HQ. The point-of-contact at MM&P HQ for this issue is MM&P’s Pilot Membership Group VP Capt. George Quick. He can be reached by phone at 410-557-8757 or by email at


According to an article in the current edition of the MarEx e-newsletter, Tactical Defense Concepts (TDC), a maritime security training and consulting firm, recently received word of a possible terrorist act from a licensed mariner assigned to a US-flag vessel carrying US military cargo. The officer described in detail a possible ramming attempt on September 5th by a foreign flag bulk cargo ship, said to be approximately 600-feet in length. The incident occurred in the vicinity of the Strait of Gibraltar.

The American vessel was proceeding eastward at about 15 knots and had just cleared the inbound lane after exiting the Strait of Gibraltar. A large bulk carrier was following the US vessel and increased speed to overtake the US vessel on the port side. After passing the US vessel, the bulk carrier suddenly turned to starboard crossing the US vessel’s bow. The US vessel turned quickly to starboard to avoid a possible collision. The other vessel then turned directly at the US vessel and was closing fast. The American ship then increased to a maximum speed estimated to be 21 to 22 knots and presented a stern aspect to the foreign vessel, thereby narrowly avoiding a collision.

There were no whistle signals or radio contact from the foreign vessel. It was also reported that the foreign vessel continued to shadow the US vessel for approximately two days afterward. The incident was reported to the proper authorities at the time. TDC analysts say that the incident was quite suspicious and that it raised the possibility that it was an attempt to collide with the US-flag ship. The licensed officer could provide no rational explanation for the foreign vessel’s maneuvers. It appeared to be deliberate in nature and only evasive action prevented a collision.

TDC also asserts that it is common knowledge to Company Security Officers (CSO) and Vessel Security Officers (VSO) that Al Qaeda has issued threats targeting US and NATO ships transiting the Strait. TDC concedes that they cannot confirm that this was a thwarted attack, but the circumstances are very suspicious. Ships should be cautious of close-in contacts, especially in choke points, but also in the open sea. MarEx reports that this is the third report of close encounters received by TDC consultants from US-flag vessels.


Overseas Shipholding Group and Maritrans have announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement where OSG will acquire Maritrans, a leading US-flag crude oil and petroleum product shipping company. Maritrans owns and operates one of the largest fleets of double hull vessels serving the East Coast and US Gulf Coast trades.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, which should be completed by the end-of-the-year, OSG will acquire Maritrans in an all-cash transaction for $37.50 per share. The transaction is valued at approximately $455 million and combines two fleets with complementary strengths in different trade routes. The addition of Maritrans’ fleet of 11 articulated tug barges (ATBs), 5 product carriers and 3 large ATBs under construction will complement OSG’s US-flag fleet of 7 operating vessels and 10 newbuild product carriers. The merged company will be headquartered in Tampa.


Vatican City reports that, after the Angelus on September 24, Pope Benedict XVI offered the following message: “Next Thursday is World Maritime Day and I would like to invite all of you to pray for the men and women involved in seafaring, and for their families. I thank the Lord for the work of the Apostleship of the Sea, which for many years has offered human and spiritual support to those who live this difficult and challenging way of life. I welcome particularly the recent initiatives taken by the International Maritime Organization to contribute to the fight against poverty and hunger. May Our Lady, Star of the Sea, look down in love upon seafarers and their families and upon all those who care for their human and spiritual needs.”


The Shipping Rules Conference will be held at MM&P HQ October 17-18. For further info or to submit comments, contact Dave Boatner at


Tuesday, November 7, is Election Day. People across the country will have the opportunity to vote for their representatives and, in 33 states, for their senators. This is an opportunity for all of us who care about the US Merchant Marine to make a decision that will affect our future and help determine whether our country maintains a US-flag shipping industry.

This is our opportunity to vote for our jobs, to protect our economic interests and to promote a stronger, larger and more competitive US-Flag Merchant Marine.

Every vote counts. Remember that whether or not we are disillusioned by what has or hasn’t happened in Washington, the candidates who are ultimately elected November 7th will control the fate of our industry and thus, our future.

Log onto MM&P’s website at , for a list of candidates who support: funding and expansion of the Maritime Security Program; enforcement of the Jones Act; implementation of cargo preference programs; the right of American workers, including licensed maritime officers, to join and belong to unions and bargain collectively. Please review the candidate recommendation page.

If we take the time to learn about an individual’s position on issues important to our industry and if we use that information when deciding how to vote, we can and will make a difference. We can elect candidates who will fight by our side for a stronger US-Flag Merchant Marine.

Go to today to view our Candidate Recommendations. If you don’t have access to the Internet and want information on the candidates, send an e-mail to Jim Patti at MIRAID in Washington, DC at or contact him by phone at 202-463-6505.


MM&P’s Director of Special Projects Richard Plant advises that as of February 2007, license requirement changes will go into effect that will affect all members who want to raise their current license rating. Beginning in February, in order to sit for the Management (upper) level deck exam, candidates will be required to take 10 to 12 weeks of training courses. Plant says that, “If you have the sea time and meet the current qualifications please consider raising your license from Third to Second and from Chief Mate to Master or First Assistant to Chief Engineer before February 2007.”

Plant explains that, “Presently, mariners wishing to raise their license from Third to Second only need to take the Second’s exam. Mariners raising their license from Chief Mate to Master or First Assistant to Chief Engineer only need take the Master or Chief Engineer exam. As of February 2007, mariners wishing to raise their license from Third to Second will have to take the combined Third and Second exam. Mariners raising their license from Chief Mate to Master or First Assistant to Chief Engineer will have to take the combined Chief Mate and Master or First Assistant and Chief Engineer exam.” For more info, contact Richard Plant at 410-850-8700 ext. 36 or e-mail him at:


The next Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) Meeting will be held at MITAGS on November 1st and 2nd. All SOCP meetings are open to the general public. SOCP works with the support of Maritime Administration (MARAD) and various industry, labor, and government organizations to address common challenges and identify new solutions for improvements in ship operations. For more info, visit the SOCP website at or contact Todd Ripley at 202-366-2625.


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

AIS – Automatic Identification System: 12/15
ARPA – Automatic Radar Plotting Aids: 10/10, 10/24, 11/14, 12/5
AZIPOD-KAM-2 – Two-Day Azipod and Kamewa Steering and Propulsion Systems: 12/4

BRMP – Bridge Resource Mangement for Pilots: 10/10
BST – Basic Safety Training: 10/30, 11/13

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]
*WX-BASREF-2 – Two day Basic weather refresher, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED PREP for Advanced Meteorology: 10/26
*CMM-ADVWX – Advanced Meteorology: 10/30
CMM-ADVSTB – 10/23, 11/27
CMM-CHS I – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 1): 11/13
CMM-CHS II – Advanced Cargo Handling (week 2): 11/6
CMM-ECDIS – Electronic Chart and Display Information System: 10/16, 12/4
CMM-MPP – Marine Propulsion Plants: 10/30, 12/4
CMM-SHS-ADV-1 – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 11/13
CMM-SHMGT-I – Ship Management II (week 1): 12/11
CMM-VPEN – Voyage Planning and Electronic Navigation: 10/9
CMM-WKP – Watchkeeping: 11/27

COMP-OPSYS – Basic Computer Course: 11/13
CONT-PLNG – Contingency Planning: 10/13, 12/16

CSE-AASE – Confined Space Entry: 11/14

FF-BADV – Combined Basic and Advanced Fire Fighting: 10/30, 11/13

HAZ-Hazardous Materials (5-day): 11/6

MEDIA-RSP – Media Response: 10/12, 11/9

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Trans Drug & Alcohol Testing: 10/22
MED-PIC – Medical Person In Charge: 12/4
MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 10/16

[MSC – Military Sealift Command]
MSC-CBRD-1 (Chemical Biological Radiological Defense Orientation): 10/25
MSC-DC (Damage Control): 10/26
MSC-SMA-R – Small Arms Re-Qualification (2-day): 11/3 (must have proof of passing all 3 weapons within 2 years)

ROP-5 – Radar Observer Original and Renewal (5-day): 11/27
ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 10/9, 11/13, 12/4

SEC-OFF-VCF – Security Officer, Vessel, Company & Facility: 10/9, 11/6, 12/12
SHS-BAS – Basic Shiphandling 11/6
SHS-EMR- BRMP-3- Emergency Shiphandling & Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 12/4

TRAC-TUG – Water Tractor and Azimuth Stern Drive Tugs: 12/7

Check the MITAGS website at 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:


Fall and Winter: 2006-2007

MATE 500/1600 TONS Program Begins January 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 for more info on this new development.

SCHEDULE OF COURSES – (Course schedule also posted online at

October 2006
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

November 2006
10/30-11/3 Tankerman Person in Charge
10/30-11/3 Able Bodied Seaman
10/30-11/3 Medical Person in Charge
10/30-11/3 Medical First Aid Provider
11/6-10 Tankerman Person in Charge
11/6-10 ARPA
11/6-10 Emergency Shiphandling
11/6-17 GMDSS
11/27-12/1 Radar Observer Unlimited

December 2007
12/4-8 ARPA
12/4-15 Shiphandling – Advanced
12/11-13 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
12/11-22 GMDSS
12/18-22 ECDIS
12/18-22 ARPA
12/18-22 Medical First Aid Provider
12/19 Radar Recertification

January 2007
1/2 Mate Program Begins/Orientation
1/8-1/26 Ratings Forming Part of a Navigational Watch
1/22-1/26 Terrestrial and Coastal Navigation
1/22-1/26 Tankerman Person in Charge
1/22-1/26 Emergency Shiphandling
1/29-2/2 Medical First Aid Provider
1/29-2/2 Radar Observer Unlimited
1/29-2/9 Medical Person in Charge
1/29-2/9 GMDSS

For registration call Jennifer Fowler 888-893-7829


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



 D O W  N A S D A Q  S & P 500
11,679.07 +145.84 for the week 2,258.43 +20.68 for the week 1,335.85 +17.82 for the week
Fund Name & Trading Symbol
 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)
 Vanguard High Yield Corporate Fund (VWEHX)
 Vanguard Total Bond Index (VBMFX)
 Chase Growth Fund (CHASX)
 Fidelity Asset Manager (FASMX)
 Fidelity Growth and Income (FGRIX)
 Fidelity Magellan Fund (FMAGX)
 Fidelity Small Company Instl (FMACX)
 Fidelity Value Fund (FDVLX)
 Spartan US Equity Index Fund (FUSEX)
 Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX)


~ Reminders ~




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:, 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:, by fax to 410-850-0973 or by mail to:

Richard Plant, Director of Special Projects

700 Maritime Blvd.
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090


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 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.



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.




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.

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 or call 1-800-382-7777 toll-free.





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 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.”


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 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

  • 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.


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

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.



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)


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 and click on “Union Made Product Search”. To shop for union-made products online, go to



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,, 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”.

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