Advice on union please

Hey fellow seaman,
Hope you all are having a great new year, I just found out I am going to be a father again.With that being said I have choices to make . As I mentioned before or what you can gather from my name I work on a jackup I am a AB-OSV I have my STCW 95 BST lifeboatman and I have my twic. I worked with a couple of guys that have told me that if this is going to be my career I have to join a union. A couple of things I would like to know. (1) would I have to leave my family for more than 6 weeks at a time being with the union.(2) Will I be blacklisted from ever working in the gulf (3) Is my AB-OSV sufficient to work as a AB in the union.(4) what is the typical wages a year for a AB. I am Originally from Hawaii and I eventually want to bring my family back there if Joining the union will help me achieve that goal I would do it. My other option is to find a company that would help with travel and that is hard AB’s are a dime a dozen.My wife and I lived where I grew up for three years then things got to expensive , so we moved to Mississippi near her family. I would love to raise my family where I was born and raised.If anyone has any advice I would appreciate your anything you can share with me.Thanks again and have a prosperous new year


You have formed some of your questions based upon your imagination.
You don’t have to leave your family at all. You have choosen to work away from them as a sailor and your joining a union will not take any choices away from you. You can choose to work for who you want, when you want.
Finding a company that will offer you ideal work hitches is another thing. In accepting what is available, you may have to compromise. A hitch of six weeks or less in the gulf is not uncommon.
Some companies require you to join a union, other companies don’t.

Shipping is depressed and will remain so for at least the next couple years.
That means you, with the very little experience and rating that you have, will be in competition with alot of others.
A lot of deep water sailors will be falling back to smaller inland jobs.

There are no typical wages for an AB. Expect anything from minimum wage to $200 day.

A union may accept an OSV if the company wants you. There are several unlicensed unions out there, among which the Seafarers International Union is the biggest. Beware joining them or any union in the hope of finding work. Go find a company that wants you first.

Your big picture is all about what a company want for you.
Your lack of rating or experience is a conversation stopper.
If a company wants you, then barriers will fall and unions will have to open doors.
Go knock on some company doors, show them how you’ve hustled to produce your documentation and always be honest.

Here is a link to help you on your job search:

Take Care,

For a very extensive group of links to towing and oilfield companies go to the MTVA’s Jobs page. For links to the various labor unions, plus general information and links to training institutions, go to the Info page.
Good luck…

Jackedup- congratulations on the baby!

captjacksparrow- thanks for those links! Lots of companies/websites I’d never heard of.

more places to apply :slight_smile:

I sailed out of the Honolulu SUP hall and really enjoyed it. Jobs aren’t always around but it’s a small hall and easy to access. There’s also Sause and HTB out there if tug life is your interest. Those guys are around more and you’re in cell range most of the time for stay in touch with the ohana. The SUP has contracts with Matson and APL, but all the jobs I picked up were Matson. When we were in Hono all the guys who lived there were cut loose for the 2 days, but we had to do daywork on the mainland which isn’t such a bad deal. I sailed on my AB-Special and got enough time to get my unlimited there. USCG REC there so doing the paperwork shuffle is less of a hassle. There’s also a MFOW hall if you want to cross over and get wiper jobs. Good luck.

Never saw you on here before…
Good advice and well written

Jackedup, I can only tell you about my own personal experience. I have no love for a Union. I have been in SIU and MMP. From my experience the Unions are out for one thing and one thing only. That is to protect the Union. Now before half the subscribers go nuts on me. let me clarify. While in SIU I had an Engineer that had to get a lawyer to get what was rightfully his in retirement. Since then I have had 2 mates from SIU that are in the process of hiring attorneys to make sure they get the amount they should in retirement from SIU. Here’s the up side. SIU is the only game for a retirement/pension in the gulf coast. The have health care in retirement. Something you will not get any where else. Amigo the way I see it is you have two choices 1.) Upgrade to Special, LImited, or Unlimited AB to increase the scope of vessels you can work on. 2.) Either work on OSVs or go inland.
Should you decide to relocate down by Pascagoula, Ms. Collie towing is great to work for if you can get on.
Or if you end up near Houston, Tx. go ahead and join the SIU and go to work for G & H Towing in Galveston. They manage all the harbor tugs. Pay isn’t that great but SIU has a great school.

If you upgrade, Try K-sea transportation

K-Sea Seattle is or was hiring for abs my advice to you jackedup is to get a job with an oil moving company and try to get your loads and discharges (10 totals 5 and 5) and go get a tankerman endorsement.