Joining the seafarers international union

How hard is it to get a job once you join. I’ve got an ab,stcw and twic so I don’t believe I’d have to go to their school. Any help is appreciated.

My brother sails with SIU, He seems to do quite well. His first gig took about a month to get of being in a hall everyday. It was on a crappy MPS ship in Diego Garcia. But the Union really works with him. He has gone from Deck to Engineering. They have paid for all his schools and gotten him a pretty good ship on some government ship. He talks very highly and is in fixed rotation now (about 8weeks on 6weeks off, give or take)…

So you have to sit in these halls everyday until they announce a position? That seems like it would be hard to do.

[QUOTE=gorgeyhopper;45319]So you have to sit in these halls everyday until they announce a position? That seems like it would be hard to do.[/QUOTE]

You have to pay your dues. Sure, that sounds harsh, but it’s reality. When shipping slows down in some other sector (GOM anyone?) the SIU has a duty and an obligation to protect those with seniority (A and B books) that have sailed for a while and paid their dues (both literally and by taking some of the unpopular ships).

If you could get a gig right now with a C card in [I]just[/I] a month, you would be doing good.

If you don’t like sitting around (the union hall system) than you might prefer some other sector.

Salty
are there any ‘unwritten no-no’s’ that will disqualify a person for shipping out of the hall? Like, they’ll never say but you’ll never work? I’d like to avoid that situation if possible send me a message if you want

Horatio

[QUOTE=Horatio;57417]Salty
are there any ‘unwritten no-no’s’ that will disqualify a person for shipping out of the hall? Like, they’ll never say but you’ll never work? I’d like to avoid that situation if possible send me a message if you want

Horatio[/QUOTE]

I always say, “if you REALLY want to go to work, you will.”

Register, have your docs in order (so you’re not too much of a pain in the ass to the port agent or patrolman), dues paid and a bag ready to roll.

You’ll get work, eventually.

Yeah. Hey, why am I paying these dues and sitting her waiting?

Hey. Why’d he get a job before me?

Gheeze this sucks. Gheese this sucks. Etc etc etc.

Give the excuse, well I need a couple days to go home and get my shit together, and to do a few things.

When the bell rings be READY, PACKED AND ABLE.

There are two ways to ship out of a hall. The first is the ‘old fashioned’ way: you sign up, pay your dues, and wait for a job. You leave for 30, 60, 90, 120 days. When you leave the vessel your employment ends. You return to the hall to sign up and then go home for a couple months. Then you go back and wait for another job.

The second starts like the first. Except when you get hired if you ‘work out’ they may hire you permanently, and you go abd return on the company schedule.

Of course these permanent jobs are more desirable, but this is why the senior guys usually snap them up. Once you get a couple trips ( over a year time in). YOU get to be a senior guy to choose.

cappy

my bags are packed- where do I sign :slight_smile:

[QUOTE=Horatio;57422]cappy

my bags are packed- where do I sign :)[/QUOTE]

Your profile location has you in Cali.

Consider joining the SUP. (Sailors Union of the Pacific)

They are affiliated with the SIU, but in my opinion, a superior union.

They don’t have many contracts these days. Today, they still have most of the US flagged APL ships, Matson Navigation and have the entire unlicensed crew aboard the US flagged Chevron & Exxon/SeaRiver Maritime (ESU) tanker fleets.

The Matson and APL contracts are top of the line and unless you are a book man or making a 1 trip relief, you won’t be seeing those until you attain some seniority. Since there are no “permanent” unlicensed afloat jobs in the SUP, it is possibly the fairest shipping union of them all. Every job comes off the hiring hall deck.

If you’re in the hall, you will eventually get work. Play by their rules, learn the contract, pull your share and you will be golden with those guys.

SUP
450 Harrison Street
SF, CA

www.sailors.org

I enjoyed my time shipping with them.

Just another option to consider.

[QUOTE=capnfab;57429]Consider joining the SUP. (Sailors Union of the Pacific)[/QUOTE]

I will second that. The ships with SUP sailors and MFOW unlicensed engine gangs were the most professionally run. With very few exceptions, the knew their jobs and did them well.

capnfab, sshhh… I’m heading to San Fran Sunday and don’t need the competition. Seriously though, what you say is true. I’ve always heard about the “SUP way”, especially when SIU shared the building in Seattle.

[QUOTE=RkyMtn Paul;57501]capnfab, sshhh… I’m heading to San Fran Sunday and don’t need the competition. Seriously though, what you say is true. I’ve always heard about the “SUP way”, especially when SIU shared the building in Seattle.[/QUOTE]

I believe there will be enough room for the both of you. I think the SUP/MFOW gained a couple more of the MSC LMSR’s, so, ask to be sent for training for these ships and your chances of shipping and gaining seniority increase dramatically.

Like I mentioned earlier, do your job, learn the contracts, if you’re ashore, attend the monthly meetings and most importantly, play by their rules.

Good luck to the both of you.

Recently retired from the Navy after 26 years of service and the coast guard has finally approved my BST, RFPNW and my AB Unlimited credentials. I have read many of the posts in respect to joining or not joining unions. However, I live in the Wisconsin and relocating/selling the house isn’t an option right now.

So, before packing my bags and going to the GOM, I thought I will give the SIU a go. I have begun the process and took the physical for SIU this week. When I visited the union, the patrolman seemed optimistic. Although, there was a guy (an AB Unlimited “C book”) that use to sail MSC sitting in the hall waiting. (He said he quit MSC as he couldn’t stand the rotation any longer after 6 years). He had been sitting there for a couple of weeks already and said he was there until he gets a ship.

Today, I called to check on the turn around time for my physical. The young lady that answered didn’t seem that optimistic, and told me it will be 2-3 weeks for the Union to process my medical paperwork… Wow!!! ok, keeping positive. I then asked how the AB awaiting for a billet was doing. She then said, “ohhhh that guy, he never got a ship and gave up”…
Wow again…

I am going to give the Union “sitting in the hall” an honest chance. I am posting this so others can see an updated status/process for a qualified “C book” mariner to get on with the Union.

Yes, I am an ex civmar, sailed MSC 5 years and was able to retire from govt service with a tiny pension, due to my age at the time (62). I hated the schedule, being away from home 4 months + at a minimum.

I joined Seafarers’ to increase my chances for shipping out with an MSC contractor who does their own hiring. Only been to the hall twice, as it’s a 4 hour drive. I detest SIU from my days at MSC (I did pay SIU dues even tho their negotiator fucked my unit, USNS Grasp, out of thousands in retroactive berthing pay, while getting it for our 3 sister ships. Effing A__holes)

Can anyone explain how the All Ports list works? Do those jobs get called during the regular job calls? Or do you tell the Patrolman you’re taking one? I forgot to ask when I was there.

And, since I’m in the Government Service Division according to the paperwork they sent me, do those jobs go up on the All Ports list?

Been SIU for a few years. Guys get picky and compliment but if you’re in a hall for a few days you will go to work. There’s always jobs coming and going. All departments too. Some guys bitch because their ideal job isn’t up there but most are decent and all count for sea time obviously. Pay the dues and wait it out.

The way the all ports list works, is that each union hall that post job on the all ports has first dibs… IE, new york posts a job on the all ports. All a books and b books get to take. If none do, then it goes back to the new york hall for any c books waiting. If none of them take it, it then gets offered to any c book in any hall. Only exception is that a job is posting with immediate fill from or near your hall.

[QUOTE=gorgeyhopper;45319]So you have to sit in these halls everyday until they announce a position? That seems like it would be hard to do.[/QUOTE]

I went down to an SIU hall recently take a test for the apprenticeship program. They had wireless Internet access there. Just bring a laptop and maybe some TV shows along with it. You could probably get through an entire season in a day! :slight_smile:

You can play dominoes & cards with the brothers or nap in a recliner.

Don’t forget free coffee with unlimited bitching and complaining.

[QUOTE=TheShipCantSink;140489]I went down to an SIU hall recently take a test for the apprenticeship program. They had wireless Internet access there. Just bring a laptop and maybe some TV shows along with it. You could probably get through an entire season in a day! :)[/QUOTE]

Sitting in the union hall is a hold over from the good old days before the telephone was invented. Unions are nostalgic for simpler times. The union bosses keep it this way because its a good tool for them to keep the members down and in their place. They want to see your depressed face and hear you begging “yessuh master, I’ll do anything for a job.”