AMO ballot count set for tomorrow Monday the 6th

From the AMO website:

All members of American Maritime Officers in good standing are invited and encouraged to attend the ballot count for the 2010 AMO Election of National Officers, which will be held Monday, Dec. 6 in the banquet room on the second floor of STAR Center.

“As with voting and expressing positions on union leadership, tracking the ballot count is an important individual act of participation in union democracy,” said the national president of American Maritime Officers. “I strongly encourage all AMO members who are able to attend and observe the ballot count, and to witness in person the transparent tallying process conducted by TrueBallot and the AMO rank-and-file Tallying Committee.”

Today (Nov. 30, 2010) was the deadline for AMO members casting votes in this election to have their dues paid in full through the fourth quarter of this calendar year and to establish membership in good standing in order for their ballots to be considered eligible, as stipulated by the AMO National Constitution.

All ballots must be received at the depository of TrueBallot Inc. by the close of business tomorrow (Dec. 1, 2010), which is the conclusion of the balloting period for this election.

On Monday, Dec. 6, the tallying process will proceed as follows:
[li]9 a.m. EST: representatives of TrueBallot Inc., the members of the AMO Tallying Committee and AMO General Counsel Joel Glanstein will meet in the cabana near the union’s office at 2 West Dixie Highway.[/li]> [li]10 a.m. EST (approximate): representatives of TrueBallot Inc., the members of the AMO Tallying Committee, AMO General Counsel Joel Glanstein and AMO Special Assistant to the National President Jack Branthover, as well as any AMO members who so choose, will travel to the TrueBallot depository to collect the ballots.[/li]> [li]The ballots will be transported to the banquet room on the second floor of STAR Center, at which time tallying will begin.[/li]> [/ul]The regular AMO membership meeting is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Dec. 6. If the tallying process has not been completed by 1 p.m., the membership meeting will adjourn. When the tallying process is complete, the membership meeting will reconvene.

The following AMO members were elected to serve on the Tallying Committee:
[li]Joseph Newhouse (Dania Beach)[/li]> [li]Carl Mahler (Dania Beach)[/li]> [li]James Siesto (Dania Beach)[/li]> li Marvin Redondo (Dania Beach)[/li]> [li]David Clifton (Toledo)[/li]> [li]David Fitzpatrick (Toledo)[/li]> li Terrence Partacz (Toledo)[/li]> [/ul]When official results of the tally are available, they will be posted on [I]AMO Currents[/I] and on the AMO Home page.

I am on record as supporting Jack Hearn’s slate and am hoping for a clean ballot count tomorrow.

I guess we’ll know soon who is victorious and if there will be a suit filed in Federal Court to stay the results? If Hearn wins, I expect a lawsuit which will be filed by Bethel and his gang to stay in charge at AMO Headquaters while the suit goes through the process which could be years. I can well imagine that the AMO leadership strategy will be to wear down the AMC and bury them in legal expenses. Does Hearn have what it will take to last out Bethel’s stalling action and actually move into 2 Dixie Highway? God, I sure hope so!

So, it is almost 8pm EST…does anybody have anything to report?

I heard that Jack lost by 30 votes, is this true?

[QUOTE=ErnieO;44559]I heard that Jack lost by 30 votes, is this true?[/QUOTE]

As reported the election results are as follows:

532 (51.75 percent) Thomas J. <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com</st1:City>Bethel</ST1:pl
<st1:City w:st=“on”></st1:City>
496 (48.25 percent) John N. (Jack) Hearn III

All the other results are just as depressing

As a postscrip…I find it highly ironic that suddenly here on gCaptain, the AMO has a huge banner ad seeking new members? You think they know something might be happening soon to their membership roles?

Well this is truly a sad event for the AMO Members AND the Members of the MEBA. We in the MEBA DID however get rid of our bad apples this time around, FINALLY! All I can tell the AMO guys is to hang in there and keep trying. It took Mike Jewell 3 tries and 9 years of perserverance to make it but he finally succeeded, Jack Hearn (or someone equally as good) can do it too, just don’t give up.

According to Captain Jack, approximately 200 votes were disqualified. Apparently those 200 or so members did not have their union dues paid so their ballots were not counted. How convenient. Such a shame he lost by such a close margin AGAIN. It is also suprising that only about half the union voted! How sickening to think they would just let Tom Bethel back into power without putting up a fight! Way to give them a run for their money Captain Jack!

[QUOTE=nautisid;44594]According to Captain Jack, approximately 200 votes were disqualified. Apparently those 200 or so members did not have their union dues paid so their ballots were not counted. How convenient. Such a shame he lost by such a close margin AGAIN. It is also suprising that only about half the union voted! How sickening to think they would just let Tom Bethel back into power without putting up a fight! Way to give them a run for their money Captain Jack![/QUOTE]

With a pension fund on its lips, it simply boggles the imagination that a knowledgable rank and file would have willingly gone for Bethel so either dirty deeds were done dirt cheap or the membership of the AMO deserves the leadership they appear to now have for as far as the eye can see.

So close…almost too close?

Captain Jack should have won by a landslide. He definately had more REAL support from REAL union members. Maybe they did some ballot stuffing somehow? They found a way to cheat thats for sure. And from reading all of these forums and blogs, it seems like the only Bethel supporter was “Hearnia.” I’m positive none of those 200 disqualified votes were for Bethel. Those votes would have changed the entire election without a doubt.

I wouldn’t call it ballot “stuffing”, exactly. Anyone know if there’s an AMO barbecue planned for the near future?

Two possibilities come to mind: either the membership REALLY doesn’t give a rat’s ass, not enough to even bother to vote, or the election was rigged–again. The “official” numbers put out in the AMO currents are pretty telling: over 3100 “unique” (not duplicate ballots) sent out and just over 1200 returned. For the math impaired, that’s a 40% turnout. If I remember correctly, turnout for the last election was over 50%. So, am I supposed to believe, with the whole pension issue hanging over everyone’s heads, that voter interest actually went DOWN? I don’t believe it–as Kelly Bundy would say, something’s rotten in Denver.

Digging into the numbers a little further, 3211 ballots were sent out. 110 were duplicates, and 115 were added voters (new members? who, exactly?). Subtracting those numbers gives a figure of 2986. As of March 2010 there were 2736 active full members reported. That’s a difference of 250…who are these 250, exactly? New members added during the year? Administration employees (more on this in a moment)? Or are we voting Chicago-style now?

As I understand it, administration employees are also full members and eligible to vote. Not sure if this extends to the maids cleaning STAR Center rooms, but either way, none of these people should be determining the future of the seagoing membership. I think we all know how those votes went. Exactly how many employees are there and how many are eligible to vote? Also realize…they’ve been getting pension credit for this year! That’s right, while we, the seagoing membership, got stiffed this year, they silently got into the new plan a year early! Explain that one, Tommy!

Back to the ballots: 230 out of approximately 1260 were disqualified. That’s just over 18% of returned ballots. That’s a pretty significant number. I personally doubt that many people were behind on dues, but if true…shame on them. But with that many DQ ballots, it seems like there ought to be an appeals process. As it is, nobody even knows if their vote even counted or not. For that matter, I can’t even say for sure my ballot made it to the counting room at all. I know for a fact my dues were paid up (receipt supported and all!) and my ballot was mailed in with plenty of time to spare. But once it got to that AMO PO box, it’s anyone’s guess what happened. The sad thing is, we’ll never know.

So, in summary: I don’t believe for a minute this election was legitimate. It’s tough to win when your opponent won’t play by the rules. But, it should never even have been that close. This should have been a no-doubter. This was probably the single most important election in our history and 60% of the membership didn’t even bother (allegedly). If you’re an AMO member reading this and you didn’t bother voting–you got nothing to say anymore. EVERY ONE of us had a dog in this hunt.

What little faith I had left in this union is now gone.

Sorry to see all the glum looks, as my smile is gone as well. I agree with the majority of the comments re the election results, and really have only one thing to add.

Besides the members who got screwed out of any hope for a Buyout (if you believe you’ll ever see the “reduced” funds they “project” for your DC account in 2017, then I have some oceanfront property in Utah to sell you), those who received buyouts had a very strong reason to vote for Bethel; the DC Plan which gives them a second pension, meanwhile the unfortunate ones are left to suffer forever, having watched the DB pension plan decimated, and thus their futures decimated as well. Personally, I do not believe for one second that the Trustees had no choice but to include the buyout folks to receive a second pension. I think it was Unta’s financial “pension planner” friend who mentioned the same thing.

As much as things change, they remain the same.

I also heard of many members who claimed they were “satisfied” with the way things were being run. It just goes to show you how pathetic “some” of the membership is; unfortunately everyone suffers at the hands of a few.

But there is always hope; no telling what AMC has going on in the background; Jack has to be the least happy of anyone, having devoted much of his recent life to this battle. Let’s hope something turns up which is a positive - everyone needs to hang in there and continue to monitor and contribute to forums such as this one - and see what happens.

All the best to everyone - and God help us as we work forever…

I am really pleased to see that AMO members are using this forum to discuss how hard we just got screwed. I completely agree that this was the most important election in AMO history. I have nearly a decade in this organization and had high hopes when the McKay’s went down. I honestly believed that the Bethel administration would right the ship and operate this organization funded by the members for the members as it rightly should be.

Not a single member I know has anything positive to say about the last five years of leadership. Instead we have seen massive changes in the organization all portrayed as vitally necessary for the survival of the union or as a better option for the members while the real story goes untold. My biggest loss of faith in this union is a result of nobody close to the administrative level having the balls to speak out and tell the membership what has really been going on at 2 Dixie. This tells me that Bethel runs a tight ship ruling with fear of being sued for libel and buying the loyalty of the administration which proves their real concern is for themselves and not the membership which funds their salaries.<?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O /><O:p></O:p>

When I read the LM2 filings on AMC’s webpage I could not believe that Bethel made 375,000 dollars in 2009. That’s more than MMP & MEBA’s presidents, while we work on some of the lowest contracts in the deepwater merchant marine. In the age of Wall Street bailouts and executive excess how could this not bother the membership unless no one took the time to look?<O:p></O:p>
If anything is for certain now it is that this union is comprised of the haves and the have nots. Those members receiving their pensions and continuing to work obviously have it good and did not want to rock the boat but that’s only a small number from what I can tell. My guess is people are leaving for other work in droves and saw no good in voting in this election. It wasn’t half the membership that voted, it was one third. <O:p></O:p>

If there is any chance to salvage this union, it’s reputation, our livelihoods, and begin holding some of our wonderful contracted companies to higher standards it will require the collection of verifiable misdeeds by the executive board and the dissemination of this information to the membership. How was Hearn supposed to campaign if he could not have free access to member information such as mailing and email addresses? Unfortunately at this point I am wondering if anyone really cares any more. It feels as if we are so used to being screwed by the rules and regulations in this industry, the companies for which we work for and the union which is supposed to represent us, that we just roll over and take it year after year.

Some of the things I have heard from people closer to the operation of AMO, mostly here say, really discouraged me over the years. Unbelievable stuff that would piss anyone off unless they were at the receiving end. I think these things need to be recorded, not because they will have any basis in a court of law, but because it might incense the membership enough if they actually had some idea of how much the administration takes from us and how little they are willing to give back for the common good. <O:p></O:p>

It is a sad day when all the men I work with, upstanding and honest men, family men, who work their asses off, take care of their ships and maintain a professionalism any union would be proud of cannot look to their leaders and see the same qualities. If the executives were men of this caliber than we wouldn’t have to sit licking our wounds wondering what future will be left for us at sea. Ivory Coast, Egypt and now AMO; some people just aren’t willing to give up power no matter how much they hurt the masses.<O:p></O:p>

If I can get off subject a bit, does anyone have any idea what effect this would have on shipping? I’m a 2nd and have been an ‘applicant’ with AMO for about 2 months now, and kept hearing that things will open up a bit around Christmas, but nothings giving. I’d certainly like to sail with AMO, but it feels like sailing is that last thing AMO is offering these days.

To eThib…I assume you’re an engineer. Either way, examine all your options CAREFULLY before deciding to join AMO. And don’t believe anything coming out of headquarters without getting independent verification. That said, the days of applicants shipping ahead of members are past. Even members aren’t necessarily shipping “in order”–I know of members waiting to ship off the board inexplicably losing position. If you’re an engineer you’ll probably have an easier time getting out, though not necessarily as 2nd. If you’re a mate you could be waiting a while. As far as the election goes, I would expect a fair number of people leaving–there’s simply no future in AMO anymore–and that’ll open up some opportunities. So, in short: I can’t really recommend joining this farce of a union, but if you must, then a little more patience and a willingness to work whatever they give you should have you out before too long.

Well, we all know the old adage: it’s never over until it’s over. And even then, it may not be over. Jack Hearn has filed an election protest.

What I find interesting is, they received the letter December 22nd and it took until January 3rd to let the membership know. Twelve days. I understand the holiday season was in there also, but still.

I’m sure, just like last time, that there will be absolutely NO wrongdoing found with this election. Horse(feathers), I say, but there you go.

I understand they have all the received ballots scanned somewhere. Maybe we should be able to see a list somewhere of what ballots were received, how they were marked, and whether they were qualified or not? Obviously, no names, but it could be sortable by book numbers–that way, I could look on the list and see whether my vote even counted or was DQed on some technicality I didn’t know about, or if the ballot was even in the pile. I have a feeling a lot of ballots were “lost in the mail”–you don’t think Bethel and his gang couldn’t pay some mailroom worker to “lose” a box?

Stay tuned.

The numbers the AMO received in ballots and ballots disqualified isn’t that far off from what the MEBA typically sees in an election. Many members just want to get on a ship, make money and go on vacation, not giving a rats ass about “Union Politics”. If you look at any of this Country’s national the elections the turnout is even worse and look at the budget deficit problems we have.

If I can get off subject a bit, does anyone have any idea what effect this would have on shipping? I’m a 2nd and have been an ‘applicant’ with AMO for about 2 months now, and kept hearing that things will open up a bit around Christmas, but nothings giving. I’d certainly like to sail with AMO, but it feels like sailing is that last thing AMO is offering these days.

I can tell you that shipping with the MEBA is pretty good right now for engineers. You would start as a Group 3 Applicant and yes it’s tough at first to get work. But with perserverance you’ll eventually make Group 2 and then Group 1. Once you make Group 1 you’re set!

You really have started a new thread btw.