I have been employed at Edison Chouest Offshore for about 6 years now and There are a few things that I need to get off my chest and let you know.
When I got hired at ECO I was in a desperate situation and while at the time you were basically hiring anybody with a pulse I still appreciate what this company did for me and the things I’ve learned here. I will never forget that. This appreciation however does not excuse the way that things have been going recently and I think your employees deserve better. This is not the same company it was. It has changed, the managements attitude has changed, and we are treated like indentured servants.
I have had my license for almost 2 years now and am still working as a deckhand/qmed. I have had my pay and time slashed. I am currently working on one of your MANY “stacked” boats and have had my pay reduced to a level that is barley able to keep me afloat. In fact if I were on a land job It would be barley above minimum wage broken down by the hour.
I have had to borrow money from my 401K to avoid bankruptcy (I’ve taken well over a 50% pay cut over the last few years, I am not a reckless spender). As far as I can tell most of your employees have had to do this, at least on the last few boats I’ve been on. When a huge chunk of your work force is having to delve into their retirement savings just to keep their homes don’t you think there is something terribly wrong? Or do you not care?
Your coordinators are liars and quite frankly useless. I have seen them promising people, including myself, paybumps, promotions, permanent vessels, etc etc. and then turn around and bounce them to 4 boats in one hitch all at severely reduced pay. When you ask your coordinator about this through email they respond with something akin to “that’s just the way it is”. That is if they respond at all which is a highly dubious presumption to make in the first place. And us. Being almost slaves at this point with nowhere to go. Sit here and take it.
You don’t tell us anything. The last time I saw a Manager was over a year ago and updates from the office about the current state of the company are nonexistent. I wouldn’t be shocked if ECO closed their doors tomorrow. When I look around Fourchon I can see nothing but cream and orange hulks sitting idle. What is going on? Are we doomed? What is going on with this company? I know what I am doing to make you money, or was doing at any rate. What are you doing to make me money?
Why are so many contracts seemingly less useful than a sheaf of toilet paper? I have known 7 boats now that had 5 year contracts that were basically torn up and flushed down the toilet. What good are these contracts you are signing if BP can just say “screw it” and bail on it? You need to start using your assets as a bully pulpit. You own Fourchon. You own all the C-ports. I dont even know why you are allowing other companies to use your ports. Take over. Your employees are working for you, what are you doing for them?
Seniority is no longer a positive thing. Quite frankly it seems like this company views seniority as a negative thing. When I go on these stacked boats I see on average a person that’s been here 7-12 years. Sometimes 20. why are you punishing your senior employees with stacked pay? There seems to be absolutely no rhyme or reason to who gets what boat. You let your inept coordinators decide our fates. There should be a system that rewards long term employees with more solid jobs.
I would gladly save you hundreds of dollars a day if you gave me my pay back. I could easily do it too. But as it stands why should I even care? I see this all the time now. The maintenance is getting pencil whipped, fragile and sensitive equipment is broken on purpose, cleaning supplies and oils are wasted and dumped everywhere with reckless abandon, rust ignored, expensive equipment neglected and allowed to burn out, food simply thrown away or left out to rot. Why should we care? Its not our equipment, its not our money. People didn’t have this attitude when you were paying us well. As long as you pay me this BS pay… I am going to cost you more than it would take to simply pay me more. And it isn’t even sabotage. Im not running around with an ax breaking things. Its just a mindset I and others have adopted, some of them don’t even realize it. We cost you a lot more than you think.
Could you please stop building new boats? Every other month I see another damn boat being built. How much do these things cost? You realize you have enough stacked boats here to rival most navies on the planet right? Why are you wasting money on new boats when you have perfectly serviceable boats already here? You could use that money to give us a little pay bump instead of buying a shiny new boat to sit in fourchon.
This is the truth of what is happening in your fleet right now. I hate this job, I hate my coordinator, I hate my manager, and I am beginning to hate this company and view it as more of a prison than an opportunity. I am actively applying and trying to get the hell out of here.
I suppose you wouldn’t understand any of this. If a million dollars disappeared from your checking account you probably wouldn’t even bother trying to track it down, wouldn’t be worth it. You would probably just chuckle it off as you sit in your mansion and do whatever the hell it is that you do. Go on wild safaris, race cars, waste money on ridiculous absurdities, eat a bald eagle hamburger, take a bath in caviar, go skeet shooting with faberge eggs, build another useless addition to the main office with stolen 401K money. I don’t know.
See this is why America is turning into a socialist nightmare. You (the capitalist) has gone too far. I do not begrudge people their success. I love capitalism. But the system gets out of whack when you don’t view your employees as human beings that deserve a good wage for making you all that money.
Now don’t get me wrong. Its fine that you are rich. I am not some wild bernie sanders supporter that thinks McDonalds employees should get 50 dollars an hour and you should pay 98% taxes. I am just saying there should be a damn balance to some extent. But we don’t see that. We see wasteful spending and ongoing construction projects with no known use with seemingly no end in sight at the expense of our paychecks.
WE… your employees…. Are hurting…. Are you? Has this downturn inconvenienced you personally in any way? Do you ever wake up in a cold sweat wondering how you are going to pay your house note? How you are going to pay for your sons college? How you are going to pay for your daughters medical bills? Do you have any idea? Have you ever known what it is to feel these things?
I mean… I seriously doubt you have right? And that’s fine. I am happy for you. Just understand that you have hundreds, maybe thousands of employees that are struggling with these issues right now. And as far as we can tell the company is doing absolutely nothing to alleviate these things. We are, as they say, treated like mushrooms, fed crap, and kept in the dark.
Please consider these things,
to everyone else reading this. I understand your companies are probably treating you in a similar fashion. I understand that and totally sympathize with you.
I am not anti capitalism, I think capitalism is a much better system than anyone else has come up with, and realize that market forces have caused a lot of this and obviously Chouest doesnt control oil prices. I simply think the entire situation is being mismanaged and money is being wasted, and the entire weight of the burden has been placed on the back of the employee with almost no responsibility on the employer or the office.
I do not mean to start a flame war. This is simply what has been on my mind, has been on a lot of peoples minds that i talk to, and yeah. maybe it isnt the most intellectual way to look at things, but its how i feel. and if history is any indication, emotions beat facts and figures any day. this is how people feel.