An Open Letter to Edison Chouest Offshore and Gary Chouest


Amen. MMP, MEBA, AMO, SIU, SUP, Local 5000, Local 25, and IBU should all merge into just one powerful maritime union, as powerful as the longshoremen. They should make it there mission to organize the bayou companies and drive foreign boats out of the Gulf.


Really? Jeaux is building state of the art construction boats? Only recently has ECO gotten on that program, long after countries outside the USA have built, manned and established a track record with the oil majors. Jeaux Boss took the easy money building the minimum needed to get a contract, paid himself millions of dollars and is resting comfortably. Meanwhile those he hired that he promised the moon to a few years ago now have what he promised…the moon.
The offshore deepwater oil business in the USA is dead and will remain so for the foreseeable future. There is no reason for anyone to invest the huge amounts of money to develop new fields in expensive environments when there are less expensive alternatives. Additionally, the demand for oil is dropping due to the worldwide development of other energy sources.
The average citizen is very happy with the low cost of oil, only you the oil mariner is sad about this situation… Consider yourself as one who participated in the 1849 gold rush in California. It was good while it lasted and a few made a lot of money but that era is now over.
Had you covered your ass, saved your money, insisted on a pension or other profit sharing scheme you might be better off but it was your choice. “They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind”


I agree 110% with that.


I’m pretty sure you’re not too bright (definitely not as bright as the OP) and I’m very sure you’re a dick head.

If you don’t have anything nice (or helpful) to say shut the fuck up.


Another of those wretched foreign vessels are on her way across the pond, bound for Galveston:
I have no info on what type of work, for who, or for how long. Anybody know??


Where that falls apart is having any of the leadership give up their cushy “grand pubah” status for the good of their membership and industry. How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm when you’ve literally been “King Sacco” for thirty years?


Am I not too bright because I don’t agree with all the dumb shit said in this thread? Or maybe because I don’t agree with a person who openly admitted that he would cost his employer money because he feels he deserves so much more.


That is correct. If it were not for self interested union officials looking out for themselves first the unions would have merged a long time ago.

Start with merging MEBA, MMP, and AMO. Keep some of the best union officials (probably a lot more than are really needed) from each union and give them all big raises. Give the rest of them huge golden parachutes to get them to leave. As the old union bosses retire reduce the numbers. Merging the pension plans would be very difficult, but some sensible and fair solution could be installed over a few years. Duplicate union halls could be phased out over time. Keep all the schools running; they should be profit centers with all the training that non-union mariners need now.

Without these three unions outbidding each other in a race to ever lower wages (often lower than non- union wages), mariner wages could be forced upward.


As others have said, all the current union petty tyrants and their gangs of sycophants will be sure to kibosh any attempt at consolidation. A. They would worry for their future as a petty tyrant, and B. they would worry for the future of the secret money coming in that we don’t expressly know about.

And their rank and file will do as their told and vote against it, and pose for “thumbs-up” pictures with shit-eating grins afterwards.


It wouldn’t add any more jobs or job security to the fleet and it wouldn’t mean that they could organize the gulf. The Unions pockets are not anywhere as deep as Industry’s.


While I agree with many responses to the OP in regards to openings, potential salaries, and not being a slug while on duty I think one of the issues perhaps not clarified enough is not people not finding out about a pay cut (or being lead to believe there would not be one) and only finding out on payday.


It’s a job, not a vacation. Your employer doesn’t owe you anything beyond what they agreed to give you in your contract and you don’t owe them anything beyond what you agreed to do in your contract.

Glad to hear you’re looking for other work.


Contract? In Louisiana?

The only contract I recall ever seeing down there in that swamp was a handbook detailing all the company rules you had to follow and why breaking any single one of them would get you frogmarched to a waiting Carryall



Lol they were sure quick to disregard my contract at HOS! The terms I agreed to were cut quick, fast and in a hurry so Uncle Carl and Daddy Todd could keep making their bank!


The Gulf needs a union. Not every company or every job controlled by the union, but 50 percent union jobs would be about right. Union benefits, insurance, and contract rules for layoffs and unemployment would be a very good thing. Union physicals instead of company physicals would be another good thing .


I don’t quite understand all the Chouest bashing. When I was working in the GOM they were always considered one of the best boat companies to work for. I even applied there but I didn’t have my Nav watch so they told me to come back when I got it. Of course by the time I got it the oil patch when to shit. All the boat companies would cut pay and not match 401ks during rough times, or most of them would. Don’t get me wrong, things suck really bad there now. I know guys that stuck around, and its terrible for them.Like I said not sure I understand the whole ECO bashing thing. The things ECO are doing sounds like what all the boat companies are doing.


ECO epitomizes that Bayou Joe Boss bad attitude toward employees.


Okay I have a few things…

By your own admission you know that Chouest is acting and treating its employees as other companies are. However, how convenient to forget that It was more than a year after all the other majors let people go and cut wages before ECO did.

Yes ECO decided to take back their contributions but ECO’s contributions were only 3%. So if you were a participating member making 100K a year and you put at least 6% into your 401k to then qualify for ECOs 3% then that means after a year you didnt get 3k into your retirement. Yeah it sucks but 3k towards money I dont plan to see before I retire is not the end of the world. Yes it sucks but to make up for this, I just added an additional 3% to be taken out of my check.

Yes new builds are still coming out. AS you have noticed ECO is a lot more than boats. They have many other businesses that need to remain afloat as well. If they release a new boat every 3 months, that keeps hundreds of guys working in a shipyard who have families to support as well. Not to mention its just smart business. If at the end of this downturn, there are 312s waiting to go to work and we can phase out some of the still active 240s and 260s then that decreases your fleet age. Your overall age of fleet is a factor in deciding whom to go with.

Also there are many tax advantages to spending X amount on your equipment every year. The shipyards are set up as NPOs. If you dont like the tax laws then petition your congressman or Senator.

Also, if you are making 350 a day at 182 days a year, your are making $63,700 a year. This is only working 6 months out of the year. Why not get a side job at home. I know if I needed to, I would stand up at a window and ask “do you need fries with that?” if i were hurting that bad. And you say you dont spend a lot but the median household income for 2016 was $56,516. Less than what you do on your own six months out of the year. If you are single you have no reason to complain, if you are married with children have your spouse get a job, if you dont want her working then do something when you get home.

You claim that you will purposely do nothing and look for somewhere else to work. You seem to forget about the millions of people out there, let alone mariners, who would love to kick your ass to make as much as you do. People who are making nothing at all.

And let us not forget what other major oil companies have done. HOS fired all those employees when things got bad and forced the employees remaining to work 28 and 14. If im gonna make 100k a year I would much rather do it at 28/28 than 28/14

Also lets not forget what Harvey did with their tugs…Safety dept walks on board one night and says we just sold all the tugs. BTW, we sold the pensions with the boats. Guys who had been with the company 20-30 years depending on their pension were basically told its gone. That if they wanted to stay working at Harvey, they could come back to the office tomorrow morning and fill out an app as a new employee to work on the supply boats.

I agree sometimes things happen in the office I dont like. But your particular experience with your coordinator and manager are yours not mine. You cannot condemn all 12 or so Managers and all 30 or so coordinators based on just yours.

The fact that you even have a job should make you think twice. You have basically no experience and anyone with less than two full issues under their belt still have a whole lot to learn. In the last year I have had a third mate working as an AB- he was glad to have his job. I had a Master 1600 with a 6000 ITC working as an AB- glad to have his job. I even had a Master 1600 Oceans with a 10,000 ITC and full DP working with the company for 16 years working as my AB. And you know what his reaction was? “It is what it is. If they need me to be an AB then I will be an AB”

But you see although you didnt tell us your age, I suspect you are only in your 20s maybe early 30s. A whole new generation. There is something called taking pride in your work. If you are gonna agree to dig ditches for a living then be the best damn ditch digger there is. If you dont wanna work here, if you think the grass is greener then by all means leave and go somewhere else. Let someone at home who is waiting on a phone call get a chance to work as an AB.

Those of us who have worked in the industry long enough have seen wages come and go, thats life. Sometimes things are good sometimes not so good.

And before anyone starts praising unions, I will have you know, I had a prosperous blue water career before ECO. However there is one difference here. At union halls, they will go with the guy who has the most time on his book. So if ECO were a union and your time dictated your job and position, you would have been fired a long time ago.

Youd better hope to hell you are not transferred to my vessel, because if you are and I see a lackadaisical cry baby attitude like you have displayed on this thread I will not only write you up, but I will do everything in my power to fire you. So dont come on here and try to get sympathy. A lot of people have it and have had it a lot worse than you do.


How did you figure that the OP is making $350 a day as a deckhand on a stacked boat?

$350 is plenty of money for any AB almost anywhere.

Then again, from your description, all the bayou companies screwed over their crews. That doesn’t make it right.


He mentioned $350 earlier on a stacked boat, doing AB work as an officer. However, all AB’s here are working 28/14. Even if he was making AB pay at $250 a day he would still be making more than 60K a year. Only officers working in a capacity as an officer on a vessel are working 28/28. At least what I have seen. I have had ABs ask for even time and were told no as there was a shortage. Hence another reason why so many officers are working deck. They are filling in needed spots and keeping a job.