[B]For Immediate Release[/B]
[B]October 1, 2011 [/B]
[B]Contact:[/B] Audra Kincaid
[B]Phone:[/B] (202) 638-5355
[CENTER][B]Liberty Maritime Corporation Creates Labor Battle[/B]
[CENTER][I]Shipping Company Locks Out MEBA [/I]
[B]Washington, D.C.[/B] – The Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A.) members working for Liberty Maritime have been locked out of their jobs by Liberty Maritime as of 12:01 a.m. today. Liberty has engaged in this action despite the fact that the MEBA had agreed in principle to terms and conditions for a successor collective bargaining agreement.
The M.E.B.A. negotiated for several months with Liberty Maritime and despite the fact that the union agreed in principle to the terms of a new contract, the company undermined discussions by signing a collective bargaining agreement with the American Maritime Officers (AMO) union. On September 30, 2011, legal counsel for Liberty advised the M.E.B.A. that Liberty has signed a contract with the AMO to replace M.E.B.A. officers on board Liberty vessels at 12:01 a.m. today. Once news of this despicable action was announced, M.E.B.A. President Mike Jewell traveled to New Orleans to support his members.
“Liberty Maritime has turned its back on the employees and the Union that have delivered great service since the inception of the company. We bargained in good faith and they just walked away from the table,” said Jewell. “Furthermore they have pitted union brothers and sisters against each other in their desire to cut benefits and wages. This is unacceptable behavior. I am asking our brothers and sisters in the maritime labor community for their support and to stand with us in this attack on working men and women.”
Since 1988, M.E.B.A. members have crewed Liberty vessels. For years M.E.B.A. officials and political staff have lobbied on Capitol Hill for the company. The M.E.B.A. has brought Liberty business and produced profits, but after 22 years the company sought to drastically slash the pay and benefits of its employees.
Jewell has written a request which is published on the union’s website (mebaunion.org) asking all AMO members to stand with their M.E.B.A. brothers and sisters in this labor battle, and to fight for the rights of their fellow merchant mariners.
[B]About the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association[/B] The M.E.B.A., America’s oldest maritime labor union, supplies U.S. Coast Guard licensed deck and engineering officers in both the U.S. domestic and international trades. The Union was established in1875. Its members serve aboard tugs and barges, fireboats, research vessels and in various capacities in the shoreside industries. In wartime, M.E.B.A. members have sailed in virtually unarmed merchant ships delivering critical defense cargo despite attacks from enemy aircrafts, submarines and warships. In times of peace our members still face dangers such as piracy on the high seas in order to best serve their country.