Amo, meba, mm&p

All of those sound interesting. For me, ship handling is at the top of the list with seeing the world at second. Antarctica and breaking ice within the arctic circle are two goals of mine, and I do have an old shipmate, who is working with Chouest, who has had the opportunity to experience both. <br><div>If I had to come up with an ideal job that fits at this stage in my life it would be MSC. Just out of the possibility of advancing my license, seeing the world, and getting to experience the shiphandling involved in un-reps. Unfortunately I do go to GLMA and they were only hiring one 3/M form us this year, and it went to my roomate.</div><br>

Why only hire 1 glma grad? I thought MSC was in need of new mates.

They only hired 2 or 3 from CMA I think.

BarryR - It sounds as if you’ve already made your decision.<br><br>Since you’ll “only” be a graduate of that unfortunate instittution they call GLMA, I suppose aspirations can’t get much higher, eh? Or can they? <br><br>If there is only one piece of advice that I hope you take away from anything that’s been discussed on this board, never feel <strong>“unfortunate”</strong> for graduating from anything. If anything, MSC should feel unfortunate for not having the presence of mind of hiring <span style="text-decoration: underline;]<strong>you</strong></span>. Next thing you know, you’ll be saying “I’m just a merchant mariner”. Be proud of what you do, and who you are, and where you came from. If you said “Unfortunately, I’m just my father’s son”, I have a sneaky suspicion CivEngrPE would be having a “discussion” with someone. Right? <br><br>The folks that work in Admin. at MSC, just aren’t that bright, that’s why they “only” hire a few 3rd Mates, and then run around like jackasses trying to find reliefs to man the ships the rest of the year. This is also the reason why you’ll be out 4-6 months (or more) until they find you one.<br><br>Have you thought about taking an active commission? <br><br>One other thing - Your idea of shiphandling, and my idea of shiphandling, are two different things.<br><br>I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours.

Im no way ashamed of graduating from GLMA, it was the best fit for me. I’m walking away with a B.S. in business, an ocean license, dangerous liquids PIC, and pilotage for the great lakes. This is really the only place it is possible to achieve all of that. The “unfortunately” was more out of sarcasm than a real portrayal of how I feel.

Good Morning.<br><br><br><br>I am honored to have worked MEBA for over thirty years. I am an active, dues-paying deep-sea Member of MEBA District 1. I attended the Calhoon School from 1975-78 and, except for 1994-2006, have sailed deep-sea and currently hold a First Engineer License Steam and Motor and a Chief Engineer License Motor (Limited-Oceans). Given the perspective of hindsight, there was hardly a time I couldn’t find “some kind” of work. Here are the grades I give the Union in different areas today:<br><br> Jobs available: B [You can always walk into the Union hall these days and find some kind of job; it may not be a “money machine,” but you have to settle sometimes]<br> Compensation: B [Some of the jobs pay more money than you can possibly imagine]<br> Benefits: B- [Same everywhere, I guess]<br> Representation of Members by Union: C [A major complaint amongst Members]<br> Quality of Union leadership: D [Note: There are a few exceptions]<br> Potential for growth of Union: D [The subject of two AFL-CIO Article XX’s…need I say more]<br><br>I look forward to reading any responses to my critique, here.<br> <br> <br> <br><br><br>

dumbthird-<br><br>Please send me an email at sailineasy at hotmail dot com<br><br>I have some questions about MEBA that I’d really like to speak with a member about. Straight to the horse’s mouth I guess.

A lowly cadet’s perspective:
From what people are talking about at the academies (actually, just mine), here are some perspectives… better to call them what they are: rumors. I would love a seasoned industry perspective on this.
MMP - decent money but when you are just starting out these days you can graduate and then sit in the union hall everyday for a month before getting a job, and even then it is bottom of the barrel. Decent retirement benefits but people talk about things getting worse due to competition with AMO. You have to physically go to halls. Also, getting pulled off ships when another higher group member wants your job - is this true?
AMO - people refer to this union as the “Wal-mart” of unions; yes, you can get a job but it will not pay all that well and, most importantly, you have comparatively limited long-term benefits (retirement, 401(k), etc) - something about embezzlement and no retirement benefits? But applicants can interview online/skype. Is this necessarily a good thing?

Some people talk about being an applicant for both unions then going with the first one that gets you a job, but the downside to this seems to outweigh the benefits. If you are going union, stick with the one you choose - right?

so the question quickly becomes: union vs.non-union. What are the benefits/drawbacks? If you go union, which do you choose? If you go non-union, you are basically locked in to one firm until you leave. Is this a good thing / bad thing? How do you prioritization savings regarding retirement? Go with a 401(k), or a ROTH IRA, or something different, again depending on union vs. private?

It seems to me these are the fundamental decisions on which a successful maritime carrer is based. These early choices impact every future career decision available. And, big surprise, we learn absolutely nothing about these critical decisions in our (my) academy. It’s more like: “here’s your license now go figure the important stuff out.”

Any thoughts, experiences, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

[QUOTE=NoLandGrave;129713]A lowly cadet’s perspective:
From what people are talking about at the academies (actually, just mine), here are some perspectives… better to call them what they are: rumors. I would love a seasoned industry perspective on this.
MMP - decent money but when you are just starting out these days you can graduate and then sit in the union hall everyday for a month before getting a job, and even then it is bottom of the barrel. Decent retirement benefits but people talk about things getting worse due to competition with AMO. You have to physically go to halls. Also, getting pulled off ships when another higher group member wants your job - is this true?
AMO - people refer to this union as the “Wal-mart” of unions; yes, you can get a job but it will not pay all that well and, most importantly, you have comparatively limited long-term benefits (retirement, 401(k), etc) - something about embezzlement and no retirement benefits? But applicants can interview online/skype. Is this necessarily a good thing?

Some people talk about being an applicant for both unions then going with the first one that gets you a job, but the downside to this seems to outweigh the benefits. If you are going union, stick with the one you choose - right?

so the question quickly becomes: union vs.non-union. What are the benefits/drawbacks? If you go union, which do you choose? If you go non-union, you are basically locked in to one firm until you leave. Is this a good thing / bad thing? How do you prioritization savings regarding retirement? Go with a 401(k), or a ROTH IRA, or something different, again depending on union vs. private?

It seems to me these are the fundamental decisions on which a successful maritime carrer is based. These early choices impact every future career decision available. And, big surprise, we learn absolutely nothing about these critical decisions in our (my) academy. It’s more like: “here’s your license now go figure the important stuff out.”

Any thoughts, experiences, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.[/QUOTE]

No one can force you off an MMP ship. You keep the job until the terms of dispatch are up
Not saying it will be easy to get a job. Long term contracts through roughly 2023 have been secured with the major cos. Secured at the cost of small wage cuts and drop in pension multiplier. The MMP path to an A book is a very long road to hoe. There’s absolutely no guarantee of when you will get it. It’s all about points. Don’t let anyone tell you that 720 days as a mate with MMP gets you that prized A book. It’s all about people retiring and securing new contracts. Those are the only things that allow for new members. When times are tough and jobs are scarce, some guys end up with nearly 1500 sea days. Don’t count on shipping 180 days a year either, so do the math on that one. If you go to a hall to join, ask every question you can think of.

AMO had their pension plan frozen and people are leaving
As much as sitting I’m an MMP hall sucks, I trust that more than shipping remotely
Not all MMP contracts are better than AMO, but most of them are. But AMO probably has more jobs, although that fluctuates with MSC contracts and the ops status of those ships.

MEBA is not in as much trouble as the rumor mill would suggest. They still have their pension plan, they just throw in nearly 12% of wages ( I think of all vacation, OT, etc.) To keep what they. Don’t know about state of their contracts, but losing liberty bulkers was not good for their mate billets. Unofficially, MEBA is trying to get out of mate ‘business,’ but I’ll believe it when I see it.

As best I can recall the non union companies (some of which are MEBA engineers) are all solely tankers now. Tankers are a great place to start, but definitely not for all mates as far as an entire shipping career. You are under a lot of scrutiny. Loading 82k bbls/hr was never my idea of fun. You make a mistake at a time like that and it could be catastrophic. BUT those tankers represent a lot of jobs that have no union obstacles.

If i can offer any advice it would be to get your tankerman PIC BEFORE you graduate. If you only get one commercial cruise, 90 days on coastal tanker would serve you well.
When the time comes, don’t turn anything down, especially if it is going to get you day for day time to upgrade.

Unless you’re graduating at 45, I wouldn’t worry about retirement savings. Certainly not saying don’t save. Maybe better financial advice is don’t buy a new car, don’t get a condo or apartment. Build up a rainy day cash fund, then worry about IRA and 401k. By all means, though, Max those out as often as possible.

Whatever job you land, it will be more money than you ever made prior, so top contract wages are low on the totem pole compared to just getting a Job.

Wherever you start, you are not stuck there. Mariners switch companies, unions, and industries all the time and go on to have successful, fulfilling careers with a good retirement acct at the end.

Hope I’ve been helpful.

[QUOTE=Johnny Canal;129724]No one can force you off an MMP ship. You keep the job until the terms of dispatch are up
Not saying it will be easy to get a job. Long term contracts through roughly 2023 have been secured with the major cos. Secured at the cost of small wage cuts and drop in pension multiplier. The MMP path to an A book is a very long road to hoe. There’s absolutely no guarantee of when you will get it. It’s all about points. Don’t let anyone tell you that 720 days as a mate with MMP gets you that prized A book. It’s all about people retiring and securing new contracts. Those are the only things that allow for new members. When times are tough and jobs are scarce, some guys end up with nearly 1500 sea days. Don’t count on shipping 180 days a year either, so do the math on that one. If you go to a hall to join, ask every question you can think of.

AMO had their pension plan frozen and people are leaving
As much as sitting I’m an MMP hall sucks, I trust that more than shipping remotely
Not all MMP contracts are better than AMO, but most of them are. But AMO probably has more jobs, although that fluctuates with MSC contracts and the ops status of those ships.

MEBA is not in as much trouble as the rumor mill would suggest. They still have their pension plan, they just throw in nearly 12% of wages ( I think of all vacation, OT, etc.) To keep what they. Don’t know about state of their contracts, but losing liberty bulkers was not good for their mate billets. Unofficially, MEBA is trying to get out of mate ‘business,’ but I’ll believe it when I see it.

As best I can recall the non union companies (some of which are MEBA engineers) are all solely tankers now. Tankers are a great place to start, but definitely not for all mates as far as an entire shipping career. You are under a lot of scrutiny. Loading 82k bbls/hr was never my idea of fun. You make a mistake at a time like that and it could be catastrophic. BUT those tankers represent a lot of jobs that have no union obstacles.

If i can offer any advice it would be to get your tankerman PIC BEFORE you graduate. If you only get one commercial cruise, 90 days on coastal tanker would serve you well.
When the time comes, don’t turn anything down, especially if it is going to get you day for day time to upgrade.

Unless you’re graduating at 45, I wouldn’t worry about retirement savings. Certainly not saying don’t save. Maybe better financial advice is don’t buy a new car, don’t get a condo or apartment. Build up a rainy day cash fund, then worry about IRA and 401k. By all means, though, Max those out as often as possible.

Whatever job you land, it will be more money than you ever made prior, so top contract wages are low on the totem pole compared to just getting a Job.

Wherever you start, you are not stuck there. Mariners switch companies, unions, and industries all the time and go on to have successful, fulfilling careers with a good retirement acct at the end.

Hope I’ve been helpful.[/QUOTE]

This is one of the better summations to a new guy starting out that I have seen. The one thing that I would add as a semi-retired person is never forget to count in the pension that a union provides, just make sure you read the fine print so you don’t end up in an AMO type rip-off. The non-union companies try to be competitive by offering a 401k but there is no guarantee your 401K will be worth a nickel when you need it. The best advice is to save for a rainy day or many rainy days as they may arrive next month. Rent don’t buy a place to live and buy used cars if you must have one for the few months a year you will be home until you have a years pay in the bank in a safe place. After that year of pay is in the bank, forget about it and then start saving for the house or the future spouse. I would advise renting home and spouse for the first 10 years though.

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Haha, I see what you did there. He’s not entirely wrong though. Being in a serious commitment can cause a lot of trouble.

Unfortunately, pension plans are not guaranteed. That’s what bankruptcy and the pension benefit guarantee corporation are for.

Be your own pension plan, and everything else is gravy.

Second the motion for renting girlfriends first 10 yrs. Too many ships to catch, too much fun to be had, and too much traveling to be done.

I also highly recommend taking any type of inert gas system, crude oil washing (COW), and DOT approved hazmat classes your school offers. If they don’t offer them, talk to an instructor, especially ex-tanker mate, and get the ball rolling. I did the first 2 classes as independent study with another mate and engr my sr year. Well worth it. Teacher was enthusiastic to have us there. When I was unsure about a job offer a few months later he ducked out of a class he was teaching to take my phone call and steer me in the right direction.

The more certs with official STCW and CFR regs behind them the better off you will be, from your first day to your last day at sea.

Slightly off thread topic but… Rent vs own the first ten years… I was thinking about buying a cheaper place just outside a ski area in a 0% state income tax state. 1. To become a resident for tax reasons and ski while not sailing. 2. Create at least some equity instead of throwing away the rent money. 3. I have rented for 7 years and have nothing to show for it. Ten more years of rent is mucho $$$$ that can be used on the home/apartment.

In your experience, what makes you say rent for ten years? (Very relevant to those starting off.)

[QUOTE=laheim;129757]Slightly off thread topic but… Rent vs own the first ten years… I was thinking about buying a cheaper place just outside a ski area in a 0% state income tax state. 1. To become a resident for tax reasons and ski while not sailing. 2. Create at least some equity instead of throwing away the rent money. 3. I have rented for 7 years and have nothing to show for it. Ten more years of rent is mucho $$$$ that can be used on the home/apartment.

In your experience, what makes you say rent for ten years? (Very relevant to those starting off.)[/QUOTE]

For what it’s worth, leave your junk at your parent’s place, and travel when you’re not shipping out. That clearly doesn’t work for everybody, but it worked great for me. Saved tons of money, travelled a lot, and also was great for my folks. When they wanted to travel, I watched the house. There also guys who rent houses together. The house is usually occupied by at least one guy who won’t ship out again for a few months. That worked well for lots of guys in Charleston shipping MMP some years back.

Income tax free state is definitely way to go in the beginning.

Guess this is really more for younger guys. At your age, I say bite the bullet and buy.