Exxon Noble - Guyana Quarantine

my point is that the mariner is a number on the income statement in the OPEX category that reduces operating/net income and cash flow. The mission (or really legal obligation) of management is to maximize shareholder value. Putting that into practice looks different under changing market conditions. 2014 vs 2020. GoM mariners were treated better in 2014 not because of the kindness or values of chouest or others but because of favorable economic conditions. the mere presence of a union limits the management of doing whatever they like without someone talking back.

also anyone whos been listening to the conference calls knows that these companies are desperately trying to preserve liquid balance sheets, drawing down credit facilities, slashing costs, etc. I know that even the recruiter i was trying to work with from Noble before is laid off

Those unstable market conditions over and over combined with anti-union presence would not be desirable to organize either way.

If the union wanted to move in and “help” the destitute mariners in the GoM, they could’ve came in anytime between 2015 to 2018 and had people signing up in droves. The push would’ve only needed 1/100th the effort they did in the early 00’s and again in the early 10’s. A lot of things were handled poorly buy the owners during the big downturn. A lot of people were rightly disgruntled.

The unions didn’t move in because;

  1. The money wasn’t immediately there for them to squeeze out.
  2. They were too stupid, fat or lazy to see the window.

Take your pick.


Why wait for a union to “move in”? I just searched for “how to organize a union” and this is the first hit:

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The fundamental element of the union is not the hall, it’s the contract. There is no requirement that the hiring hall system be used.

Even with the union hall system, in practice nobody sits in the hall for months. If shipping is slow and a mariner’s card is not competitive they just don’t come to job call till it is.

On this forum I read a few threads where guys claimed to sit in the halls for months trying to get their foot in the industry after graduation. In the below link about MM&P a frequent commenter who is a supporter of MM&P advises to live close to a hall to get on with them. In that thread you also bring up the fact the people who work for the union hall aren’t the best people to ask for help because it isn’t in their best to help everyone & only members of the club. I’m not going to argue “what ifs?” but in my opinion I don’t think working for a Fourchon, Houma or New Orleans based union would be that fun. The bayou/GoM companies would probably insist a union office be local & it would obviously be local residents who worked the Union office because nobody is moving there. The east & west coasts have crony unions & it could be expected the bayou/GoM guys would have the same.

Also, someone mentioned that the '15 oil crunch was probably the best chance for AFL/CIO to expand their business model into the GoM which might be true but the GoM guys I knows who stayed employed aren’t union type guys. The ones who might of been inclined to unionize were laid off pretty quick I guess? Also, non-union companies probably didn’t lay off by seniority but on merit, employee profitability & other factors. Mariners who made the cut were just happy to have a job & were worried that their companies were going to go belly up with some doing just that. IMO, a bunch of Cajun union crony middle men wouldn’t made anything any better except maybe for a select few Cajun croney union members in '15 in the GoM. Working in the GoM was bad enough for me. If I had to go through an additional layer of coonasses at a union hall to get a paycheck I wouldn’t of bothered. I sure the hell wouldn’t of stayed in a trailer on stilts bayou union hall all day praying for a job.

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It’s all about the contract. If the members don’t want a hall system don’t negotiate to create one. If the companies insist on using a hiring hall don’t agree to the contract.

True, and that is what the the GoM mariners & the majority of the US labor force is doing. If they don’t like the terms of employment they can refuse the job, try to renegotiate with their employer or bare through it. Whatever they choose. Pretty simple. Don’t need a bayou/GoM middleman union for that, unless they vote one in?

Assuming that true it doesn’t change the fact that both "why don’t the unions save us’ and “but I don’t want to sit for months in a hall” are both still invalid reasons not to organize.

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I have asked GOM mariners why they don’t have a union. Just try it out and see how things go. You can vote the union out if you don’t like it. Fear of losing their job, being ostracized by their neighbors and life long anti-union teachings were the biggest answers I got. The fear was real. The anti-union teachings came right out of a John Birch Society book, it was brainwashing basically. You’d have a better chance of converting those guys to Buddhism.

Not too far off on that.

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Or… Is it the condescending tone that pro-Union people bring to the discussion that gets them shut down after a few sentences with GoM mariners? I don’t care what product a person is pushing, if they attempt to make me feel like a simpleton for not having it already or use the con man phrase, “Just try it for a little bit & return it if you don’t like it.” my answer is, “No, get away from me.”

Also, when I worked in the GoM I had several coworkers who used to be union but went to the non-union GoM for all kinds of reasons. From my observation it was seldom the former union members who were excited about unionizing which was an eye opener. Many of the GoM officers supervised lazy & corrupt union crews while working overseas & that turned them off to supervising union crews again. The situation is a lot more complex than, “Those dull rednecks were brainwashed by the John Birch Society.” Try again.


Having supervised union and non union crews I don’t see a difference, everything else being equal. If you compare overseas guys working on a supply boat where being union member is mandated to the union members I have worked with there may be a difference. It is comparing apples and oranges along with different countries. What did the GOM officers say they found about the union members they worked with in the GOM? Were they better or worse than other GOM workers?

There are no Mother Jones’ down here.

BUMP… anyone just get out of the greybar hotel? is the grub any better? my opposite is going in for a 2 week bid soon and i will be back in a few months… just wondering if anyone shanked the DR. Prick in charge…? hope they will at least allow food delivery next time…

Covid 19 is a major problem for everyone. We all face travel difficulties and many of us face delays, testing, and quarantines of some type in various places.

This is a good time to be working straight time or at least 90 day hitches, crew changes are impractical in many places and must be minimized.

I am surprised that an employer would expect to pay less than full wages during an imprisonment away from home type of quarantine before or after crew change. That ought be a violation of state and federal law. But if an employer we’re going to do this, I would expect it to be one of the 21st Century plantation owners in the South.

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you said it… thats all kinds of wrong to cut guys pay… and you nailed it on who is doing it… we offered to extend our hitches to as long as they wanted as long as we just keep both gangs on equal time, doing 4 months door to door including quarantine time this hitch… the food was truly horrid last time, i hope they sort that out before my next sentence…

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If you’re working for the King of Louisiana such treatment doesn’t surprise me and you have little recourse as a serf. Your best bet, but risky, would be to make noise to Exxon since Exxon is paying the bills. In the past major drilling companies tried to pull crap like that. Example; all training required by the oil company for drillship employees was paid for by the oil company in full. That was in the contract. The drilling company decided they would only pay regular pay not extra pay to their employees attending oil company mandatory training BUT they billed the oil company for money at the extra pay rate and were pocketing the difference. Oil company found out this scam was getting known and it stopped immediately, everyone got paid extra as they were supposed to be. Most crew change expenses, transportation, accommodations etc., are borne by the contractor example Exxon, BP etc. These OSV, service suppliers and drilling companies have been making money off these scams for years. The oil companies don’t do anything because, well you know it’s just bidness unless it looks like they may suffer some bad PR.


i am lucky to work for a company that treats us pretty well… that being said the local guyanese and trini crewon my boat were paid 25% for quarantine time because although working on my boat they are working for a local crewing company… i said they are getting screwed by their company because i know Exxon is paying full pay for these guys, well i think so anyway… i was gonna bitch to exxon about the food, powdered eggs and white rice for breakfast one morning… but i thought on of their bosses would have gone thru there by now.

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Well there you go. Trini crewing agency? Case closed. In my experience they weren’t a ball of fire but once I understood their deal I had some sympathy.