Best Time to Join a Union

Recently got my conditional offer for MSC, at this point I am just waiting to take my coasties and at the same time hoping that we aren’t shuffled off campus because of Covid like last year… However thats beside the fact.

I’m reaching out to all you union folk out there: Whens the best time to join a union? Right when I graduate? After my first hitch? After a year?

More so thinking of joining MMP, but my options are still open. Still don’t know too much about any or all of the unions but my research has been halted to study my ass off. Any advice is much appreciated.

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Also, not sure if being an SSO has anything to do with joining a specific union, but that’s also on my list.

Anytime really, everybody, their cat and bartender have a theory on the best time of year to ship, but really, just get your ass into the Hall and take any berth that comes your way.


Roger that!

If you decide to go with MSC then MM&P’s government division is really your only option. As far as timing goes, the sooner the better. Simple enough to call them and ask.


You can join MMP as a cadet, so I would recommend doing that. It’s like $25 and you can start aging your card/accumulating time before you even graduate. I think it’s called an associate membership or something. I would call the hall you plan to sail out of and ask about it.


Sooner , the better, no matter what union. MSC mmp is what you may call “Associate Union”. They don’t negotiate your MSC pay if you are working directly for MSC , but can build up time in their union. SSO is a good thing to be a part of. If you are going directly from school to MSC, you will be under the government pay schedule, but can still join MMP. Take the job, (It will be long trips) but making bank the whole time as a young person. As you build up your credentials, you can make firmer choices down the road as to which union benefits your situation the most. Free training at MSC is priceless.


I second this. I’ve seen many an applicant gain membership far faster than their counterparts because they took advantage of this. Cutting a couple years off the membership process can pay off far and above the small amount of money it costs you as a cadet.

Best time to join a union? 25 years ago.


Thank you!!

If it was an option on my lifeline, I most likely would of taken it.

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Awesome, truly appreciate the info. Lot of things you just can’t possibly find online (excluding gCaptain)

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No guarantees with MSC other than east coast base salary and benefits really. MMP contracts ive seen pay way higher than MSC with the flexibility to ship when you want and fewer months

Base salary for third Mates on Class A vessels is $95-130 (with overtime). Class A is where they are putting all the new mates since all the newer and more vacant ships are in fact class A. That’s a hell of enough pay for me!

Is that per hour?

Probably thousand.

Apologies, that’s yearly pay in thousands

New guy getting into very decent bucks compared to where they were before… Some of you grumps that made your mark after many moons never cease to amaze me. These young fellows will have to earn their positions and better pay down the road. You cats earned it, the rooks will see it. They will become wise what the industry has to offer after doing a bit of time and understanding the craft. Don’t do your best to discourage them that want to sail. Some giant pricks on this site. You know who you are.

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Along with some tiny humorless a-holes.

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Didn’t take you long to bite… The guilty dog barks the loudest. Want me to help get that hook out of your mouth? A bit of humor is good for all. Enjoy sir.