AMO Election 2018 has received an overwhelming response from just two posts on the gcapatin professional mariner forum. This underlines the AMO memberships commitment and interest in the 2018 AMO election year.

AMOVotes2018 is a platform to make sure that every AMO member gets the word that the 2018 election year will be their opportunity to shape the future of the AMO. If you like and approve of the system in place now, this is the slate to vote for Inland, Great Lakes and Deep Sea, In 2018. This will be the team for the next four years and beyond based on your vote, all positions are up for election. Its a proud honor to represent the AMO membership as an elected official, the importance is know by the rank and file of the union. The most important part of any responsible union official is to have a solid vehicle in place for the membership to access their ballot. The membership is strong and resilient, much more determined then ever to sort out the fact based requirements that will keep the AMO as the premier maritime union in 2018. To the team at gcaptain, thank you for a great forum site that we can use to keep our membership informed.

Hi, I’m Joe Stropole- Running for AMO National VP- Government Relations…Looking forward to hearing from you all!

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what do you know about government relations? who do you know in the government that you have a relationship with? what makes you think you are a good candidate for government relations?

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Good Morning. Thanks for your inquiry… Let’s answer your questions.

  1. I have directly dealt with (for a period of more than ten years) the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Maritime Administration, American Bureau of Shipping. These relationships included discussions, negotiations as well as day to day operations relative to the design, conversion, repair and operation of a range of vessels and operations…

  2. While I will not “name names” (yes, there’s a lot of that throughout our industry)- let’s just say that I am widely known and have directly dealt with MANY long term business connections, friends and close friends across the Commercial, Shipyard, MARAD and other parts of our industry… Yes, Companies- Unions, The Government… etc.

  3. I believe that I am an extremely good candidate for the position that I am running for. My knowledge and experience of the Rules, Regs, Charters, Business Practices, Technical Areas, Operations and Labor Management goes back many years.

    My family has been involved with Maritime Labor dating back to the 1930’s. The seafaring experiences of my family date back close to 100 Years. I have more than 20 years of SEA TIME (not seafaring time- actual sea time) and more than 12 years of Management Experience ashore.

The phrase that most people use to describe me is “What You See Is What You Get- Straight Up and Stand Up”. I am proud of this moniker. My mission and goal is simply this- Advance the United States Merchant Marine in any and every way possible. I am a fervent supporter of the Jones Act, Maritime Security Program, Cargo Preference in the Deep Sea, Great Lakes as well as Offshore sectors…

What you plan to do to meaningfully increase the absurdly low AMO wages?

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Thanks for responding to this thread.

Contracts, Contracts, Contracts! But there MUST be a sensible, logical approach to bring AMO Wages, Benefits and Working Rules back “on par”.

Some of our AMO Contracts are in sore need of being rewritten to get us away from one page MOU’s and the vague descriptions (or in some cases the complete absence) about working rules and certain other areas of ambiguous language. Plainly stated- I would like to see gradual increases and better working conditions across the board.

I for one have always been stricken sideways by those maritime concerns which have routinely sought to pit labor union against labor union in the hope to get a lower labor cost. I am a firm believer in the friendship and harmony between labor unions. We should collectively seek to stop the large employers from pitting us one against the other. I believe in the Tripartite Agreements and would look forward to “smoothing over” the path to work with others.

But, do remember that Companies only remain in business when they make a profit and grow. This last point at this juncture is most important. We need to better our members wages, conditions and benefits- but also foster growth so that Maritime Companies can build or obtain new or newer tonnage for the US Flag Fleet.

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The only logical approach to raising marine officer wages is to reach an agreement with MMP and MEBA on setting reasonably minimum officer wages.

This crap of under bidding MEBA and MMP to take their jobs away at slave wages has to stop.

As a non-union Mariner, I am sick of union officials selling out to management which results in driving driving down all Mariner wages. My non-union wages are usually a lot better than AMO. I don’t mind sharing. I’d prefer to see the unions start driving my wages up, like they are supposed to, not holding them back.


Thanks for your response- I agree to a certain extent- there should be a “unity of purpose” throughout our US Merchant Marine!

There should be a generally agreed industry wide “minimum wage” for each level of officer. No underbidding. No exceptions.

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I like the what you see is what you get stand up no BS. Its the way I am as well.
Here is something new for you to influence now

What would you do?

Tripartite wont work cause Marshal and Marcus. And if you every had a threesome somebody always gets left out a little

I dont believe since AMO rid themselves of Bethel and Leonard but main man Bethel AMO is on the take by any employer. Now there is the rumor of Shady Danny Shea i will just spread that one more

Sweetwater sailor- Thanks for the vote of confidence. I will always be one of those “what you see is what you get no BS” individuals- being a man of my word.

However, let’s try and keep direct personalities out of this… For the first time in a long time- Democratic Process is being practiced- and it’s great!

I write a lot of controversial stuff- specifically about the way we must start doing business… some of it some people may find a bit radical, but I believe that there has to be good answers and solutions- starting with the Government Fleet and the way we deal with those agencies…

The way the government pisses away huge amounts of money on defense contracts. There is no reason on earth why all government contractors should not be required to pay top money and benefits, fully paid training, and full paid travel to All mariners working on these contracts.

As it is now, the mariners, especially AMO mariners, and bayou mafia company mariners, are the only people getting shit wages and benefits.

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Government Relations…an important job for sure. Look at the AMO Dispatching website…all one ever sees is ROS and MSC jobs. Wonder when AMO will require all members to have Secret Clearance… That said, all joking aside, it’s good to hear a fresh voice in the community.

Regarding the comments above on wages and improving working conditions for AMO members as a whole, what is your opinion on harmonizing contracts for equality?

For example, within Crowley, there are FOUR different contracts for the tankers, which all have equal working conditions and similar domestic trade routes, yet pay scales and benefits are different amongst them. Why should some employees receive a 401(k) match while others do not? It’s not a matter of qualifications, it’s the luck of the draw as to which ship you are assigned to.

Likewise, the Crowley fleet does not have wifi capability for their mariners, something many other AMO contracted companies have installed for a long time now. Requests for livability improvements such as this fall on deaf ears. We live in 2018…connectivity is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. This should be a priority in contract negotiations for ALL contracted companies.

Fleet/Company growth and profit are clearly issues, as without a profitable employer we do not have a job. Few people harbor any realistic idea of significant wage increases (though the oilfield is coming back to life…wonder how many will jump ship again?) In light of this, livability and crew comfort is an easily negotiable topic. I remember when satellite TV was installed and all the old timers bitched and moaned how “if you want to have it all, then find a new job…that’s “life at sea””. Times change, people’s needs change, and most important, technology changes.

TinkerTanker- Thanks for your reply and questions… Here’s my thinking- Remember that the Tankers you’re referring to have different charterers. One of those charterers is MSC. They are notorious for their disdain toward some of our higher paying contracts- specifically the area of vacation…

That said, I don’t know why there are three or four different MOU’s within a company. The company I work with has at least three… Remember, I said MOU, not CBA…

Though it’s not going to change immediately- but rather I would say gradually- I see there being a swing toward better contracts and working rules in the next set of contracts. I appreciate what you’re saying about having Companies grow and bring in more tonnage. They have to make a profit to do this.

I agree about a contract requirement with respect to WIFI/Connectivity, also a minimum speed too…

The nominations are almost closed… Next the Credentials Committee will be elected and then convene. The Credentials Committee will review and qualify or disqualify nominations as per the AMO Constitution.

Being extremely respectful to the process and it’s requirements, I will launch my platform and new initiatives once the nominations are qualified…

I take great joy in these democratic processes- and can’t wait to start seeing our Members become part of this process…


I would initiate and sponsor the following Constitutional Amendments (in accordance with Article II, Sec 3 of the AMO Constitution):

a) Term Limits for ALL Elected Officials- No individual may serve more than two terms in Elected Office, nor more than a total of eight years in Appointed or Elected Office as an aggregate total.

b) That the following Appointed Positions- Assistant Vice President (s), East Coast Representative, West Coast Representative be abolished as appointed positions and added to the Union Election Process.

c) Abolition of the National Executive Committee.

a- The “homesteading” of Elected or Appointed Positions within our Union only serves to stagnate ideas and “cilo” attitudes. The AMO Constitution Preamble clearly states our Union as Democratic…

b- How can ANY individual serve the Membership in a Democratic fashion by appointment? These important positions MUST be Elected Officials…

c- A “Committee” operating nearly in an autonomous manner around the Nartional Executive Board is not Democractic. This “Committee” needs to be abolished.

Been Very Busy- @ Charleston, leaving at 1500…

Let’s talk about Term Limits. An OVERWHELMING amount of our Brothers and Sisters have related that they would like to see a Two Term Limit amended to the AMO Constitution… I whole heartedly agree!

Why? Here’s a couple of thoughts- Stagnation. Cilo Mentality, Empire Building…

We should consider ourselves U.S. Merchant Marine Officers first… A maximum of eight years is surely enough… We should concentrate on TEAM BUILDING. Giving our members- “their time at the mic”… Build Cohesive Unity from Within… More to come from Baltimore…

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The AMO contract language “stipend”.

Why is the sailing membership of the AMO only worth a stipend on parts of various MSC contracts for travel pay and training pay?

When elected National Executive Vice President by the AMO membership, the word stipend will be removed from all future contracts before negotiations. The word stipend will be replaced with a day’s pay.

AMO members, Great Lakes, Inland and Deep Sea spend years of their life dedicated to their sailing profession. Some starting off at a maritime academy or working up the ranks to get where they are today. In addition to attending countless weeks and months at training facilities they give up vacation days with their family to attend more training. They have a ton to offer their employers, their worth to the union and the operating companies is not a stipend.

Every crewmember on every ship I have sailed on brings value to the vessel. From the Ordinary Seaman to the Captain. I have yet to find a stipend qualified sailor.

The end result of their hard work and dedication is to be paid a stipend. I don’t know anyone in the AMO that’s only value is a stipend. Please let me know if you think you are only worth a stipend. 25 dollars for training and 75 dollars for travel.

Mike Finnigan for the Membership

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