Captains are not supervisors, NLRB says


#1

this actually seems counter-intuitive but I ain’t complaining either.

[B]Captains are not supervisors, NLRB says[/B]

By Dale K. Dupont 7/2/2015

Captains are not supervisors under federal labor law based on their authority to assign and direct their tugboat crews, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled in a split decision published June 30.

The case involving Cook Inlet Tug & Barge Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, bolsters the organizing efforts of the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific, which wants the captains included in a bargaining unit.

Telling deckhands to close hatches, bring in winches, and have relevant equipment ready “constitutes ad hoc instruction to perform discrete tasks, not assignment in the statutory sense,” board members Mark Gaston Pearce and Kent Hirozawa said. In addition, the company failed to prove “that the instruction is anything more than ‘routine,’ ” meaning there’s no exercise of independent judgment.

Nor is such judgment involved in setting deckhands’ work schedules, which means adhering to Coast Guard rules that specify a crew can work only 12 hours in a 24-hour period, the two said. Higher management sets the schedules.

NLRB member Philip A. Miscimarra dissented saying the evidence shows captains are supervisors “because they have authority to assign and to responsibly direct deckhands” — the only two indicators the board was considering. His colleagues were wrong to dismiss “unrebutted testimony establishing supervisory status merely because it could have been more detailed,” he said.

What’s more, the majority view implies nobody on the vessel has supervisory authority, contrary to the evidence and “applicable Coast Guard requirements that make captains ultimately accountable for everything that happens on board,” Miscimarra said.

The board’s finding endorsed an NLRB regional director’s 2013 decision that let captains and deckhands vote on union representation.

“Overall, it’s a very good ruling,” said Alan Cote, national president of IBU, which was formed in 1918. It is “positive for our efforts as a union. Workers have come to us and asked to be represented to improve their lives.”

Cook lawyer Ronald Knox, of Seattle, who had not yet reviewed the entire decision, said the next steps would be to open the ballots and for the company to decide whether to appeal the NLRB decision. Cook, a Foss Maritime sister company, has 14 employees and six vessels.

The NLRB’s latest finding follows a 2-1 decision earlier this year reaffirming that mates are not supervisors for union organizing purposes. The International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P) is pressing to bargain with Brusco Tug & Barge, Longview, Wash.

Somebody needs to cram this in Gary Corleone’s anus located beneath his nose!


#2

“Cook, a Foss Maritime sister company, has 14 employees and six vessels.” 14 employees and six vessels? Fuck that sounds like a busy job.


#3

[QUOTE=Yeasty McFlaps;164816]“Cook, a Foss Maritime sister company, has 14 employees and six vessels.” 14 employees and six vessels? Fuck that sounds like a busy job.[/QUOTE]

I think their numbers are off there. Probably more like 140 employees


#4

So what happens when you tell the AB to go do his sanitary and he says you’re not my supervisor? When you want the deck crew to paint something does this mean you have to call the office and have the ops guy tell them to do it? Seems a slippery slope to me. If someone gets hurt all the captain has to say is I’m not responsible I wasn’t supervising him I don’t know what happened to him.


#5

I am a Master so that means I’m a supervisor, Scooter.


#6

[QUOTE=AHTS Master;164821]I am a Master so that means I’m a supervisor, Scooter.[/QUOTE]

sure…supervisor of the SS ASYLUM

and this is your crew


#7

So captains don’t exercise independent judgment and have no say in deckhands schedules? News to me. Sounds like the tug company royally F-ed up the way they presented things. Oh well.


#8

From the report:

“The Employer offered no specificexamples or, indeed, any evidence illustrating that captainsare held accountable with respect to deckhand conductor performance. Captain Butts stated he was unawareof this ever happening, and although he referred toa written policy holding captains accountable for deckhandperformance, this policy is not in the record.12 Andeven the generalized and hypothetical testimony the witnessesoffered indicated that captains are held accountablefor their own actions rather than those of the crew”

Finer minds will debate the level of instruction or supervision of the deckhand, or how these do or do not meet the idea of being held accountable:

https://www.uscg.mil/legal/CDOA/Commandant_Decisions/S_and_R_1980_2279/2008%20-%20GOODWIN.pdf — "The purpose of the licensed operator requirement is to ensure that responsibility for the safe navigation of the vessel will rest on the shoulders of a qualified person. The licensed operator is, therefore, at all times responsible for the safety of the vessel and the actions of his crew in this regard. He may shift control to a deckhand and withdraw from supervising that deckhand only to the extent consistent with safety. Appellant clearly failed to meet that standard in this case. Had he exercised properly his duties, the collision would certainly have been avoided. Appellant chose to allow the deckhand to operate the vessel for an extended period of time without supervision. "

https://www.uscg.mil/legal/CDOA/Commandant_Decisions/S_and_R_2280_2579/2520%20-%20DAVIS.pdf


#9

of course a master is a supervisor and manager of his vessel based on his legal responsibilities yet for the purposes of collective bargaining a master is also labor because you still command at the pleasure and whims of Joe Boss.

Management for the purposes of allowing collective bargaining with maritime companies should be in an office ashore behind a desk. If you are afloat you are a worker regardless of the position you hold.


#10

Picking and choosing who and how the law applies to where have I seen that before?


#11

[QUOTE=Fraqrat;164838]Picking and choosing who and how the law applies to where have I seen that before?[/QUOTE]

I am just happy that this comes right at the moment that ECO hands out its “loyalty oath”…clearly, Massa Gary is now on the wrong side of the law with his onerous demands.

If only the offshore mariners would see the value of collective bargaining? They’d certainly have their 401K employer match for 2014 now if they did and a transparent means of workforce reduction in these downtimes. Gary Chouest loathes unions for a reason that he’d have to give up the heavy handed control of his mariners if he signed a collective bargaining agreement.


#12

What about an ECO coordinator, he’s not a supervisor either because he answers to the whims of Jeaux Gary?


#13

[QUOTE=z-drive;164840]What about an ECO coordinator, he’s not a supervisor either because he answers to the whims of Jeaux Gary?[/QUOTE]

Well FUCK! Everyone answers to somebody somewhere sometime however operating vessels is and should be considered as blue collar labor and not white collar management although I am on record as saying previously that a master can certainly be considered as being both. I am just glad that this is not the news ECO or any other GOM operator wants to read. The field is open in these downtimes to organize for the future. There is nothing standing in their way but just like always they’ll moan while they are laid off and do nothing to better their conditions of employment after the good times return…Stoopid, Stoopider, STOOPIDEST!

      • Updated - - -

HEY! Where the FUCK is Jeaukx Bawss Hogg?

PHAT PHUCKING IMPOSTOR!


#14
Why do captains wear those fancy white collared shirts then?

#15

The IBU is a relatively week union that is affiliated with the longshoremen. Unlike the overpaid Longshoremen, the IBU payscales are near the low end of the range in the industry.

When the mostly Filipino workforce on the Delta Western (owned by Saltchuk) fuel dock in Dutch Harbor wanted to unionize last year, the Longshoremen sold them down the river by forcing them to organize as a unit of the much lower paying IBU. Th rational that the Longshoremen used was that the IBU was also trying to organize Cook Inlet Tug and Barge (which is owned by Foss and Foss is also owned by Saltchuk). Delta Western attempted to keep the IBU out by sending a laid off boat tankermen, and management out to Dutch Harbor to work on the dock and tilt the vote in Delta Western’s favor. It did not work,and Delta Western dock workers are now represented by the IBU.

Delta Western has three or four tugs delivering fuel which are nonunion.

Cook Inlet Tug and Barge was a good three generation family owned company headed by Carl Anderson until it was bought by Foss a few years ago. It does all the ship docking in Anchorage. It also does quite a bit of oil patch work in Cook Inlet, and a variety of general tug and barge work in Cook Inlet.

Foss also bought Anderson Tug and Barge in Seward. It operates one tug.

Cook Inlet has a lot more than 14 employees. I suspect that what the article meant to say was that 14 employees had signed pledge cards. Last year, in an effort to keep the IBU out, Cook Inlet bareboat chartered one of it tugs to Foss (reducing the number of employees) which in turn was chartered with a Foss crew to Delta Western. For awhile, Cook Inlet Tug and Barge chartered a Foss tug with a Foss crew to do work inside Cook Inlet. Cook Inlet has some nice newer tractor tugs and the pay is midrange.

Foss itself, considers the wheelhouse guys to be management and pays well above union wages to keep the unions out of the wheelhouse. The Foss engineers and deck crew are IBU. I suspect that Foss is probably the largest and best contract that the IBU has.


#16

This is the definition of a supervisor according to the NLRB.

The term “supervisor” means any individual having authority, in the interest of the employer, to hire, transfer, suspend, lay off, recall, promote, discharge, assign, reward, or discipline other employees, or responsibly to direct them, or to adjust their grievances, or effectively to recommend such action, if in connection with the foregoing the exercise of such authority is not of a merely routine or clerical nature, but requires the use of independent judgment.5

A tug or ship captain doesn’t perform the fuctions listed. Generally the authority to do those things lies with someone ashore.


#17

All crew members are supervisors except the OS and the Wiper and cannot be in a union. By the time the OS and Wiper start grumbling about joining a union they become QMED’s and AB’s and are now supervisors themselves. I love the way that sounds and I believe it’s for the best.


#18

[QUOTE=Kennebec Captain;164864]This is the definition of a supervisor according to the NLRB.

A tug or ship captain doesn’t perform the fuctions listed. Generally the authority to do those things lies with someone ashore.[/QUOTE]

So you’re saying there’s no ‘independent judgment’ in responsibly directing deckhands in an emergency or the helm–situations for which Masters have the authority they do, an overriding authority in fact, and therefore independent. They should call the office to execute a Williamson turn and recover someone overboard?


#19

I want so bad to sail one trip with c.scooter just so I can tell him to pound salt when he commands me to do something. It will be a sight to see as his face goes from scarlet to deep purple when I say “YOU AINT THE BOSS OF ME!” To listen to him stammer when he tells me I’m fired and I reply he can’t exercise independent judgement to make that decision.


#20

[QUOTE=Jamesbrown;164868]So you’re saying there’s no ‘independent judgment’ in responsibly directing deckhands in an emergency or the helm–situations for which Masters have the authority they do, an overriding authority in fact, and therefore independent. They should call the office to execute a Williamson turn and recover someone overboard?[/QUOTE]

The language is intended to be used as a test to determine who is management. Using the test to come up with nonsensical results just demonstrates that the intended meaning is being misconstrued. Lawyerly parsing of words to get the opposite meaning from intent is what lawyers get paid to do.

The owner / operator of a fishing vessel that independently selects the fishing grounds, hires and fires crew determines sailing times, decides on major purchases etc could be considered management. A tug captain doesn’t operate independently, he follows instructions from the office, aka management.

It’s obvious that the captain and mates of a tug are not part of company managment in any meaningful, common sense way.