I think you’d have to do a cost benefit analysis for how long a guy sails vs how many classes he took etc. idk how much your dues are over there, but for AMO I find them to be reasonable for healthcare even if you’re not taking classes often.
I don’t think you have the whole picture. I was able as a hawsepiper to obtain my licenses through self-study: Third Mate to Master AGT, Ocn. as well as some pilotage. I then spent the next 18 years taking classes to comply with the STCW / IMO requirements as well as training for new equipment and technology i.e. GMDSS & ECDIS, etc. A great deal of the training was underwhelming none of it was free. Thanks to the MEBA I was able to take the courses at the MEBA Calhoon or other approved facilities, with tuition, transportation, room, and board all paid for by the MEBA training plan. I was required to take more training while holding the highest level deck license the USCG can issue, than I had to take in the twenty years before I received my Master’s license. That is the way of the world now. If you expect to work at a professional level you need to expect to continually be ready to learn new skills and demonstrate proficiency at old ones.
You have a naive and myopic concept of what being a member of a union means. In a democratic union (like the MEBA) you have a voice along with your union brothers and sisters in what your destiny in your chosen profession will be. In the MEBA there was a strong commitment to maintaining a fully funded pension plan for the 28 years I was a member and into the future. At contract time proposals were presented and a great deal of discussion by the rank and file on what the priorities should be in the next contract negotiations. Health care for members and retirees was always an area of strong interest and open for debate. Every member had a right to voice their opinions and vote as they saw fit.
Since you are apparently not a member of a union you should be thankful for the various maritime unions and their members looking out for the interests of the mariners and the maritime industry at large through their union’s voluntary Political Action Funds. Your company would probably be just as happy if any pro-U.S. flag maritime legislation (i.e. the Jones Act) was revoked and they could have tugboats going up the Mississippi and Chesapeake Bay with foreign crews and flying the Liberian flag.
So go ahead and look out for yourself and be a wage slave clanking your chains in glee for your corporate masters.
It’s not just your dues though. Those are nothing compared to how much the companies contribute to the union per day you work (instead of paying you that money).
Some companies are meeting their familiarization requirements By the courses at the schools. This is among the reasons that the schools may use a variety of different manufacturer’s equipment in the same course - so that a company’s mariners are trained on equipment that is fitted on the company’s vessels.
As 3/M I pay about $400 per quarter year
For which union? MMP is like $500 per year now.
I’m with AMO.
All deep sea MMP and most UIG contracts will have you in the Educational Trust at MITAGS (east or west) so any class you need/want is covered. Get yourself to Baltimore and the shuttle van picks you up at BWI and takes you to campus. Room and board are included…that is a VERY nice benefit with MMP.
I realize the other unions provide the same but my experience (decades ago) with AMO was not great…mainly because HR was the gatekeeper for schooling and I never got to Toledo or Dania Beach for a class. (The fact I mention the Toledo school is an indication of how long ago I sailed with AMO).
I like MMP and can’t say anything negative. But, if you choose to sail non-union, you roll the dice on a lot of things.