I am here once again to ask a few questions. Everyone has been so informative in the past that I thought I would post a few questions I couldn't find the Answer too.
First off, I am a prior navy submarine mechanic. The coast guard has approved me to sit for my 3 A/E Steam. I have completed a exam prep course (@Marinetime Professional training in Ft. Lauderdale… Although the school is expensive this class is definitely worth the money). Will finish my Last STCW class next week and then I test on the 27th for my 3 A/E unlimited STEAM license. Once I have my MMD I can take a 4 week course that will then allow me to add Motor to my license.
there are only two places that offer the motor endorsement school, MEBA and the AMO training centers. Plus I prefer a longer schedule (2 or 3 months on) with a bit of flexibility for my time off, So I believe signing with a union will be best for me. (although I really have no experience so i’m open to ideas).
So hear are my questions:
Which Union has the most work for steam ships? It may be a few months until I can get the motor school and money is beginning to run out. So sailing steam first could be a nice option.
I’m not sure if I’ll be a Merchant Mariner forever, especially with the same company for a pension. Therefor Meba has a 401k that is only employee contributions. Does anyone know the information about AMO’s 401k (employer matching, vesting requirements?)
How does “dispaching” get done at each union? My brother is with SIU and must be in a union hall to get a job. But I hear the AMO does stuff completely over the internet allowing you to stay home or on travel until you are needed… is this true? does Meba have the same?
Does anyone know of companies or other options that I can search for that will take me with Just a 3A/E Steam Licence?
Lastly, a dangerous question on this forum… Does one union offer a better quality of life over the other and why?.. Please be specific and without emotional union bashing… I understand MEBA has gone through some major restructuring recently and that the Leaders of AMO have some problems too… I’m more interested in the “on the deckplate” things that affect members.
Thanks again for all your help.