An Open Letter to Edison Chouest Offshore and Gary Chouest


#41

“I have simply never seen a company act in such an aggressive and underhanded way toward their employees”

You obviously never worked at Hornbeck…


#42

and hence you see how the majors are willing to pay such high dayrates during the good times because it lulls in the unsuspecting service and equipment suppliers to build like no tomorrow but gives the majors to ability to close the money valve when the price of crude goes south. The prudent service companies like Seacor don’t fall for the bait and built more slowly plus don’t have all their eggs in the GoM basket and thus have less trouble getting through the tough times like now.

it is Jeaux Boss’s greed that fueled the bubble and with its deflating Jeaux can’t tell his lenders to pound sand so he tells his workers instead.


#43

Hello,

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. (Valid points… your post confirms you still have a pulse).

I have had my license for almost 2 years now and am still working as a deckhand/qmed. (Newsflash… This just in… There is a terrible turn-down in the GOM oil patch). I have had my pay and time slashed. (Newsflash… This just in… There is a terrible turn-down in the GOM oil patch). 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. (“Barley” [sic] is relevant to you. So many are out of work with zero pay). In fact if I were on a land job It would be barley above minimum wage broken down by the hour. (You are confirming that you are being paid over the federally mandated minimum wage? No labor laws being broken)?

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. (This is your problem, and again, relative. So many have entered bankruptcy and worse). 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? (Yes, of course there is. Money management is critical in a boom/bust industry. Folks living beyond their means and the euphoria of making big bucks. Does anyone think that they can take their same skills/education and work in a separate line of work, making comparable pay?). Or do you not care? (Why should ECO care about your money management skills outside of possible qualifying for a security clearance… Conversely, why should you care about ECO’s profits besides evaluating whether or not you will chose to keeping working for them or move to another more viable company)?

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. (That is indeed the way it is. You have a solid understanding of the current environment. Govern yourself accordingly). And us. Being almost slaves at this point with nowhere to go. (You have everywhere to go). Sit here and take it. (Get off your ass and move along already).

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. (Working in a vacuum is hard on moral. Valid point). What are you doing to make me money? (ECO is not here to make you money, you are here to make ECO money. PERIOD!).

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. (Start your own company… You have a solid business plan there. You might consider waiting for the next up-turn). Your employees are working for you, what are you doing for them? (Offering them jobs which they accept or decline with their own free will and moral compass).

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. (Valid point. This reduces moral and weakens the workforce. Experience is hard thing to replace. Should be a systems that combines merit and seniority to evaluate/promote/retain).

I would gladly save you hundreds of dollars a day if you gave me my pay back. (You have to pay it forward… if you are wasting ECO money then how do you expect them to give you money back that you flush. You logic here is flawed and you should be ashamed). 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. (Are you 3 years old? Sounds like it).

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. (Start your own company… You have a solid business plan there. You might consider waiting for the next up-turn).

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. (Please leave already, many are waiting for your spot).

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. (Are you still 3 years old? Gary Chouest’s personal finances are none of your business).

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. (It appears you love it when you are on top. All of your prior logic seems to begrudge the concept). 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. (You have yet to provide one basis point on why you deserve a good wage. Most prior comments lead me to believe you have never “deserved” a “good” wage. You might reply with your definition of deserved and good so others can evaluate your argument).

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. (And they see whiny rants like this that confirm their suspicions that people are wasting their money, they are overpaid, and typically very unprofessional).

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? (Are you still 3 years old? Gary Chouest’s personal finances are none of your business. You sound like a kid that eats his candy bar fast and then pitches a fit when the other sibling saves his candy bar and eats it in front of you. Call your momma and make her make Gary give you a bite of his candy bar).

I mean… I seriously doubt you have right? And that’s fine. I am happy for you. (I don’t believe for once second that you are happy for Gary). 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. (Working in a vacuum is hard on moral. Valid point).

Please consider these things,

Employee

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. (Start your own company… You have a solid business plan there. You might consider waiting for the next up-turn).

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. (Sorry about your feels). and if history is any indication, emotions beat facts and figures any day. this is how people feel.

thank you. (You misspelled Fuck You).


#45

fiveblastsgCaptain GreenhornMar 10
Please correct me if I’m wrong. I seem to remember a certain event known as the President Obama GOM oil drilling moratorium in 2010. At that time output from oil fracking in the U.S. was about 1 million barrels per day. That quickly became more than 3 million barrels per day by 2013. Well what a surprise, he got re-elected in 2012. His base of environmentalist have always been out to shut down offshore oil? Looks like BP helped him achieve his goals, and how about all these great employment figures. They seem to leave out the fact that half a million people lost their jobs in the offshore oil industry. Now they can finally have their dream job as a Walmart greater. Thank you Mr. President.

I posted this reply once before, and it was based on official data reports from that time. The Obama supporters disagreed with me following my suggestion that the Moratorium sparked the fracking boom.


#46

this goes out to both ChouestEmployee and Ea_y_Money

I am going to ask that this ugly name calling and character assassination cease…it is not needed here now and this thread does not deserve an early death just because someone is butthurt by what gets said here. this is a valuable thread which many including myself want to read and participate in. Let’s keep in on topic please or I will flag it to be killed if it turns into a shit throwing contest


#47

Agreed.

Remove mine if you prefer.


#48

150 boats and 60 rigs in various state of completing is available in China alone. When the market return they are ready to take the place of the old boats and rigs that is now in cold layup around the world.

Of course this will not affect most of the members of this forum, since they are not likely to come to the GoM.


#49

no, let’s just hope the other person also abides and nothing further be done or said on the subject

thank you for understanding


#50

no SIR! purely coincidental…the technology to extract crude from tight shale had been under development for years prior to Macondo. There was lots of talk before DWH of the Eagle Ford and the Baaken Basins and believe me, with crude prices being as high as they were then, there was more than a couple multibillion investors wanting to cash in on low cost/high profit production that fracking promised. Moratorium or no, that new oil was coming to the market.


#51

I was a gCaptain crew member before the forum changed to this new format, at any rate just wanted to add that I switched companies in January 2014 to work for Chouest. The recruiter told me that he had to hire 800 employees by the end of the year. I got a raise in July and fired in October. The Boss came on board in August and said that we had boats coming back from West Africa, and Brazil with no jobs lined up for the returning vessels. My 10 months with the company wasn’t enough seniority to save my job. The funny thing was that they made up some kind of story to prevent me from collecting unemployment compensation. My first hand experience with their tactics allows me to fully understand the sentiments other Chouest employees are revealing, and by the way I protested their claim and got my unemployment benefits. The administrative law judge ruled in my favor. Such dirty tactics these guy’s will resort to for the sake of an all mighty dollar.


#52

Don’t get me started on that guy…is he even still employed?


#53

I live on the edge of the Eagle Ford Shale basin. Just hope they don’t pollute my water well.


#54

The parking lot wouldn’t be empty for long. It would be full of the scabs lining up to hire on. A union has the ability to organize a picket line with some teeth. Not to say scabs don’t get through a picket line they do. But it makes the scabs pay a price and keeps many potential scabs away.

So…if everyone were at home as you say the parking lot and recruiting office would be full. However a union is not needed if the employees banded together to form there own line.


#55

Not where I work.


#56

Really? I’m not talking a good AB that has wheelhouse experience and knows his shit who just got his license, I’m talking no experience.


#57

I actually think you’d be lucky to get a job as a mate at all. They’d likely want you to come on as a deckhand and train in the wheelhouse.


#58

If this guy returned to work after finding out he took a paycut then he agreed to do the same amount of work for less pay. You should go ahead and quit now so decent mariners won’t have to deal with you. Go work deck for c.captain he would probably give you a job based solely on your recent post condemning all thing ECO.


#59

Times are shitty and we’re being treated like shit. I look at my loyalty to the company in a completely different way now. If things get going again I will definitely look across the street to sniff around and I’ve been here almost 15 years.
But with that being said, saying down with Jeaux on one hand and bitching about foreign flagged specialty boats in the GoM on the other. What about Jeaux Boss being the only ones with balls big enough to even attempt to go toe to toe with the foreign construction boats. If it wasn’t for Gary, Shane and Todd there wouldn’t be shit for a US flagged subsea vessels on the PLANET. ECO and HOS even have Americans running their US managed foreign flagged vessels. How many Americans does Seacor or Tidewater employ on subsea boats? How much market share of the US OCS have they taken back? Who has done the most on that front, the sage of the service companies Charles Fabrikant? No. He’s buying barges and shit. Who is going to do it once you make Jeaux ride out on a rail?

I forgot to mention the protégés of the original bayou OG Otto Candies who’s been heavy in the subsea stuff (in relation to fleet size) for a while.


#60

If our unions were smart, they would team up and actually become powerful. Instead, they’re too busy undercutting each other, screwing us but fattening their pockets.


#61

Well considering that Seacor only has one so called subsea boat that stays overseas, I wouldn’t consider it a threat. Also don’t think that if HOS ECO or HGMI sent a boat overseas all of the US crew but the Master and Chief wouldn’t be taken off as soon as it hit the dock. That being said I applaud them for the IMR fleets they have built and hope they can dig deep and figure out who to pay off so that they can kick the foreign IRM boats out and keep them out.

As for our newly minted Mate, let me make something real clear about your license. The chances of you getting a job in the wheel house on an OSV, much less one that pays $250 a day is practically non existent. You are going up against guys like my with 1600 ton master of oceans with my DP unlimited and damn near twice as many years on my license then you have in your whole offshore carrier. I have a good shipmate that has all of the above and a TOAR and is still riding as an AB on a tug if that helps put things into perspective.

Without a DP license and experience your license is worthless right now. Your best bet is to stay where you are, eat your sandwich, and say thank you until things pick back up. Then you can get your DP license and some time your your ticket, hopefully upgrade to master and move on to greener pastures.

Sorry to burst your bubble but those are the facts and something you need to come to terms with.