Get Ready... Unions Coming to offshore wind?

Orsted, a Danish firm that operates the wind farm off Rhode Island and has other leases along the coast as far south as Maryland, signed an agreement in November with North America’s Building Trades Unions to hire some of its workers. And it has been providing funding to the training school for the International Organization Masters, Mates, & Pilots Maritime Union, which is part of the AFL-CIO.

Donald Marcus, president of the maritime union, said Orsted’s support for the Maritime Institute of Technology & Graduate Studies in Linthicum Heights, Md., could help produce workers who can build turbines in the ocean.

“Generally speaking, vessel personnel make good family wages if they’re union jobs,” Marcus said. “That’s the case in large sectors of our industry. But not, I add, in the oil patch down in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Offshore oil extraction in the gulf, which is near anti-union, conservative states, typically does not employ union workers.

It is unfortunate that Donald Marcus the president of MMP needs to throw non-union vessel operators under the bus to justify his union. The non-union offshore support vessel, Inland and offshore towing vessel operators also provide vessel personnel with good family wages. And many of them also have decades of experience in offshore construction, crew transport and transfer and complex offshore simops. How much directly related offshore operational experience can his union membership offer? His cavalier and arrogant remarks are not becoming of someone that supports American workers. I would like to see a side by side comparison of the total compensation packages of MMP contracts with some of the non-union operators he throws under the bus?


Don’t take it personally. It is standard union rhetoric. He represents the members of his union who elected him to push their interests and negotiate on their behalf. You will see the same contrary rhetoric from those that wish to push a non union agenda. It is really not new.


Understood. It’s a new battleground for an old battle, but we still need to call BS … BS when we see it.

I have worked both union and non-union East coast and gulf coasts. You can find great and not so great vessel operators in both systems.

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The higher end union contracts seem very good compared to anything except the very peak of an oil boom at the very peak of that pyramid of companies. Especially for engine, which never quite saw the DPO wages.


Non union óffer a pension you can transfer to different companies? Do non union offer any pension?


Interesting one of the “Allotments” in the new “rescue package” has included union pension relief for underfunded funds. Be curious of the 185 groups who will get a piece of that. Not opposed to relief in some circumstances, wonder if any of those funds go to maritime unions pension plans… AMO and SIU are almost fully funded, would be surprised if they get any of the pie. And agree with Damn Yankee, nothing new here, standard union rhetoric. That’s their job to enhance the job base and benefits. Also standard rhetoric for anti-union to call bullshit. Also, in the article/post says GOM is a hard market for unions to penetrate for obvious reasons. All for unions trying to get jobs in the wind energy market.


Don’t forget our inland Mariners … I know a lot of non-union towboat captains and pilots that equal the salaries and benefits discussed… and have been a lot less boom and bust like GOM.

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Sure, but who speaks for non-union mariners? It’s either going to be an individual expressing his own views or someone from management making the statements.

Orsted is the energy company, they don’t want the burden to hire mariners and oversee vessels.

I, like many mariners never felt the need to have an organization communicate to my employer for me. My personal experiences are that the total compensation packages were very comparable. And often times the unions appeared to really just be a HR department for the companies they contract with.

I am not for or against unions. It is a personal choice. I did not like being told I had to join a union…

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This is standard anti-union rhetoric to refer to unions as if they are a third party.


Well… they are a third party? Employer, employee, union… looks like a duck and walks like a duck? ignored?

I know you will tell me how unions are democratic organizations where being a member means having a voice? And how about the fact that unions are the only organizations that give workers equality with the employer in negotiation and enforcement of terms and conditions of employment? How about the fact that unions are often helping organizations that put on food drives and build wheelchair ramps? There are so many ways in which unions are supporting the quality of working people’s lives in some obvious, and some more subtle ways, but you’d never know it when you start hearing people talking about THE union.

And I could say the same for many of the non-union companies. Even with the larger non-union companies employees have regular meeting with management, are actively encouraged to participate in continuous improvement programs, are asked about and provided choices in benefits, and as an at will employee I can “enforce my contract” anytime I want. The one big difference is freedom. My relationship with my employer is mine to manage. I am not hamstrung by a contract.

It all boils down to personal preference. And how much you value freedom, versus how much you value a third party watching your back.

Employees are the Union, so, not necessarily a third party

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Management is a way to organize people, it’s not an entity separate from the CEO, it’s something the CEO is a part of.


Didn’t you ever wonder why those non union packages were so close to the union version? It’s because the non union companies were dragged kicking and screaming to the table and forced to pay what appears to be similar compensation to get anyone to work for them.


Correct Steamer.

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I don’t think that is true for GOM or inland companies…,it is and was competition among themselves… you are assuming a lot of “cross-pollination” between industries and that it not always the case, especially for deck.

The run up of DPO wages or Inland deck officers wages had nothing to do with union wage pressure? They had no dog in that fight. That was all plain jane free market supply and demand capitalism between non-union companies.

If you are referring to New England tug companies I would agree.


Unions were wise to not pursue GOM any more than they did. It actually protected their base paying members. Good decision on their part. The up and down businees in GOM just didnt fit . GOM employees benefitted of that pursuit, they got raises to counter wages and benefits offered by the unions. Then got layed off in the cycles we have witnessed over many decades with no medical and pension. Hows that stock you were promised been doing?

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The union interlude in the GOM the last time was a flash in the pan at best. Your assumption that it somehow put pressure on the wages is just not correct. Anyone with any experience in the GOM or inland knows the big challenge is not the employers… it’s the employees.

And the competition between employers in the gulf for good employees has been the real driver…,

And both have there upsides and down sides. How many young talented union members get frustrated and quit because of some archaic seniority system that promotes perseverance over skill and work ethic? It’s not hard to see the the union system does not allow the best to rise to the top when they are ready as in most non-union companies, but predefines advancement based on some fairness doctrine devoid of competency competition.

Once agian it a personal choice freedom or security of a third party looking after you.