Basic Union Question. Did thread get flagged?


#1

Very strange. I think the thread titled “Ponzi Scheme” got deleted. John had a very good post in there and I posted the question below in it, got a couple really good answers from Hawespiper & Captain Phoenix and was looking for more to finally get my answers and then I went to sea with no internet. Now the whole thread is gone?

I’m curious did that thread get heated and deleted while I was offline? What went on, must’ve gotten pretty hot to gave been deleted?

And…back to my original question. Would appreciate input again;

I have a real basic union question. In another thread it was mentioned that all maritime unions should unite instead of competing. The net result would make them stronger. So I mentioned this to a guy I’m sailing with now and he said one union can’t go after another unions business, even when the contract is up for renewal. He said it was called “raiding”. That just didn’t seem right to me. I’ve seen unions switch during contract renewal. For instance Pasha is switching from MMP to AMO.

So is it legal for a company to switch unions?

Previous two responses (got it from my email);

Hawespiper
what I’ve been told when I’ve ask reps in the halls (take it for what it’s worth), is that if it can be shown that the company did not negotiate in good faith with the current union and then goes with another union, then this is illegal. It is my understanding that an example of this was when Liberty kicked the MEBA engineers off their bulk ships at midnight of the last day of the contract, and AMO engineers walked right on. In this case, it’s pretty obvious that Liberty and AMO were dealing with each other in the leadup to contract expiration (and thus not in good faith to MEBA). MEBA took Liberty to court for this and won a settlement.

Additionally, there’s “pension liability”. Basically, under a defined benefit (DB) plan, (which is what MEBA has and AMO does not), a company is somehow liable for future benefits??? Somehow?? Not sure of the details, but that is another reason why I was told that our long time, good contracts (APL, Maersk, Matson) won’t go to AMO because they’d be liable for some very large sum of money.

As far as Pasha, maybe the pension liability didn’t transfer to Pasha when they bought out Horizon lines due to the ability to shed liabilities during bankruptcy proceedings? If so, maybe that’s why they are feeling free to go with AMO? Not sure. I’m sure if MMP loses Pasha then so will MEBA.

Once again, all this is what I’ve been told by MEBA reps in the hall, so if anyone has any concrete, unbiased answers, I’m all ears.


#2

Yeah, I’d like to know an answer to this as well. The last posts I remember were one guy saying he liked his ponzi scheme pension and that he got out in 2009. Nothing heated or inappropriate that I saw.


#3

Pasha also has MEBA. I don’t think they will be able to go AMO for the mates until the engineers contract is up. AMO and MEBA would not be able to sail on the same ship.


#4

What you say is true but AMO is not the only choice Pasha has if they wanted to end their relationship with the MM&P. They could always opt for MEBA mates. I say this only as a point of discussion.


#5

I heard it was to be effective Jan 1, 2019


#6

Good point. They could also exercise an exit clause. I believe the MMP clause is a huge number and would not be cost effective. I’m guessing we will see what happens when all contracts are up


#7

I don’t know, but suspect that Pasha could probably restructure to become an NVOCC, and charter 100 percent of the space on ships operated by a new company, with the new ships in-turn being manned by one or more separate manning companies, and each ship being owned by yet other individual companies. There might be a variety of sound financing, tax, and regulatory reasons for such a set up, In addition, to being able to side step the existing Pasha union contracts to use a cheaper union, or go non-union, for crewing the new ships.

Where there is a will, creative lawyers can find a way. All the unions are too fragmented and weak to stop it.


#8

Is this something that could have been gotten rid of during the Horizon Lines bankruptcy proceedings when Pasha got these ships?


#9

I doubt they would if they could, besides competition is healthy. Guys shipping with AMO know they will make less but ship more, MEBA engineers and MMP mates will ship less but make more, non Union guys will work for companies who will be in the middle and have to be competitive with both. It works pretty well in a stable marine environment. It’s healthy for contracts to move around, more experience for the mariner and all that.

These union threads need to remain on the dash board, in fact they should be stickied so long as they remain civil. They are indispensable for a prospective member in making his decision in where to seek employment and it also shares vital information across union lines that existing members might not otherwise recive from their officials. I would hope the mods see it that way.


#10

That is a good point. Unions are unsecured creditors in bankruptcy. The secured creditors (bond holders) are ahead of the unsecured creditors. Union contracts can be modified or wiped out in bankruptcy.

That’s why the airlines spent so many years jumping in and out of bankruptcy, to break the unions and avoid the pension obligations.


#11

I’m still interested to know who killed the original thread and what was their motivation for doing so.


#12

The longshoremen have a real sweet set up, just two unions. A West Coast Union and an East Coast Union that do not compete with each other. Longshoremen with minimal education and little or no certification that go home every night earn much much more than mariners. This looks like a time tested and well proven Union model to me.

The weak, fragmented and competing maritime unions are mostly failures with ridiculously low wages in relation to the high level of skills and certification that STCW mariners must have, and maintain.

I want to be paid for my experience, skills, and expensive investment in certifications. As a mariner, I want at least Longshoremen level wages.


#13

When dealing with new build ships could a company do this multi-tiered setup (as you describe above) ‘end around’ to get out of existing union contracts even without the benefit of bankruptcy proceedings? Specific example: Matson is building 4 new ships that will come out in 2018-2022 timeframe. What prevents them from setting up an arrangement where by Matson owns the ships, charters them out to XYZ, LLC company, who then hires Crowley (or some other outfit with AMO contracts) and thus the new ships are manned by AMO? The old ships (these 4 new vessels will replace 5 currently in service) are just retired and the permanent emplyees (CE’s and 1AEs) are paid a severance and that’s it? Possible? Pros/cons?


#14

Have you noticed anything else missing? I think I may be seeing a glitch in other areas also?


#15

Yes - there is an issue going on, even on other discourse hosted sites. I am not sure when they repro if it will restore the missing thread although?


#16

Yeah me too. Especially strange because John had a lengthy post in there. Then again maybe he had second thoughts about the post and just pulled the whole thread. Hey John, ya coulda just pulled your post. If ya didn’t pull it please satisfy our curiosity why was it pulled?


#17

With regards to raiding. I think it only applies to unions within the same affiliation. So the MEBA being in the Maritime Labor Alliance as opposed to the Marine Trades Division. Would AFL-CIO raiding rules no longer apply to the MEBA raiding AMO jobs? What is stopping the MEBA from grabbing AMO ships? I can’t really get an answer.

I’d be wary of listening to branch agents, dispatchers, etc… at the halls. I’ve seen those guys fax enough documents backwards to be suspicious of their insider knowledge.


#18

This is the url to the thread.

http://forum.gcaptain.com/t/maritime-labor-unions-job-opportunities-ponzi-scheme/45770/18

Oops! That page doesn’t exist or is private. - So has it been set to private by mistake in the admin dashboard?


#19

I don’t know of any reason why they could not do this. I think they could


#20

What matters (in this discussion) is who will man the new ships being built. The clock is ticking on the steamships now running. I am pretty sure any obligation Pasha has to the MEBA and MM&P could very well end when those ships are laid up/scrapped.