[QUOTE=tugsailor;150058]Yeah, you do what you have to, especially when you’re young. Somehow traveling around the country, sleeping in cars, and hanging around in union halls, for weeks on end to hunt for a job doesn’t sound like much of a lifestyle to me.
It used to be that we had a lot of union boys sailing non-union (which union rules forbid) on tugs to make ends meet while they let their shipping cards age before going to hang out at the union hall, but I have not seen those guys in recent years.
The headhunters all manage to vet mariner’s credentials and training without the mariner ever needing to go to their office. I don’t see why it should be any different for a union.
If the unions weren’t so dishonest, giving plumb jobs to the fair-haired boys, and selling jobs for cash, then there would be no need for anyone to be at the hall challenging anyone else’s status. With an e-shipping system it would be much easier to track members credentials, status, and the shipping jobs. The system could be designed so that it would rank the mariners with all the proper criteria, and so that it would not allow dispatchers to play favorites or sell jobs. Someone must be benefiting from the antiquated and expensive union hall system. I wonder who that is? I doubt its the mariners, especially not the mariners sleeping in their cars hundreds of miles from home.[/QUOTE]
I’m in favor of e-shipping.
Been a member of MM&P for 27 years and seen a lot of misuse of the antiquated shipping procedures of yesteryear. I guess it worked pretty good when there was a tanker fleet, and many different shipping companies with break/bulk ships, followed by the container ship boom. Now MM&P is down to roughly 150 rotary jobs shipped “off the board”. This is a nationwide count. Anyone with better numbers please feel free to respond. This number does not count permanent chief mates and masters, as once they obtain permanent status with a company, they no longer are concerned with “union hall shipping”.
To appease the few diehards that demand the union hall stay open, come in and click away. Click from home or go the hall and click.
I believe a system to check credentials, status, etc… could be easily implemented. It would take an effort and expense by the leadership to undertake such a task, something they seem unwilling to do.
As far as cost of maintaining the union halls, I believe it is considerable. All for 150 rotary jobs, seems kind of wasteful to me.
Traveling long distances, with hotel/food/car rental expenses on the hopes of obtaining an assignment is to me a royal pain in the ass. Once I was in Long Beach with an 8 month card, only to have member after member fly in with a better card to beat me out of every job that appeared on the board. 6 fucking weeks I was in that port before I secured a berth.
After 38 years of this (11 with SIU, 27 with MMP), and with the ever shrinking job base, I think e-shipping is good solution.
Then again, if MM&P and AMO could form a merger…