Liberty Maritime replaces MEBA members with AMO - MEBA Letter to AMO Membership

Check this out from the MEBA website:

Dear MEBA Brothers and Sisters and Supporters:

This will update you on the status of our negotiations with Liberty Maritime Corporation. Unfortunately, Liberty Maritime has decided to lock out its hardworking MEBA officers as of
midnight tonight, October 1, 2011 despite the fact that the MEBA has agreed in principle to the terms of a new contract with Liberty. Even worse, Liberty has just informed us that they have already signed a collective bargaining agreement with the American Maritime Officers (AMO) an affiliate of the SIU to replace our officers on board at 12:01 a.m. If this is true, this is an egregious and despicable act by the AMO to scab these ships instead of standing by its Union brothers and sisters in this dispute. We anticipate that this will not go unnoticed by the labor movement and the MEBA will take all necessary action to see that the AMO is called to task for its actions. We thank the rest of our brothers and sisters in the maritime labor community for their support and ask them to stand with us in this struggle.

The MEBA will continue to fight to protect the jobs of its Liberty officers and will pursue all available actions to remedy Liberty’s unlawful actions.

[B]I can’t believe this is happening! Any thoughts?[/B]

Looks like there is more to this story:

September 30, 2011

Dear AMO Members,

I am writing to you on behalf of my membership. They are hard-working maritime officers, just like you, with bills to pay and families to support. This letter is about Union Solidarity, the House of Labor, and our struggle to maintain basic working rights and fair contracts.

Liberty Maritime’s actions in locking out the M.E.B.A. officers and entering into a contract with the AMO is neither fair nor respectful to the mariners who have given excellent service to the company since its inception. Liberty’s actions are only meant to divide the labor movement at a time when working men and women are under attack on all fronts. Therefore, I am personally appealing to you to not cross our picket line that we have set up to protest Liberty’s despicable actions.

For too long maritime labor unions have been pitted against each other by the very companies that we produce profits for. These fights only serve to hurt our unity and decrease benefits for everyone involved. This battle has gone on for too long, now is the time to take a stand and stop it. Please stand with us in solidarity and support us as we make a statement not just for our own members, but for all union members – and not let Liberty play divide and conquer.

This fight is between the M.E.B.A. and the company, not between labor unions. Please stand with us during this struggle and support us. Your leadership may encourage you to cross our picket line, I ask you to hold firm with us in Union Solidarity.

The purpose of a labor union is to protect and advance the working conditions, rights, and standard of living for all working men and women. The strength and power of a union lies not in a single organization but the Labor Movement as a whole being unified. Please remember this even if you are encouraged by your own leadership to board a Liberty ship and take our jobs. I ask for you to stand with us and all labor and send a strong message on behalf of all working men and women.

In Unity and Friendship,
Mike Jewell
M.E.B.A. National President

What happened to union solidarity?

This is the kind of thing where members of both Unions need to work together. It is sad that companies are willing to go this far. However, they know what they are doing creating a race to the bottom in regards to wages to improve their profits. To add to it, the companies also know that due to the hard economic times us mariners still to put a roof over our heads and food on our tables. With this situation it creates a mentality that a job is better then no job at all and we should be grateful to even be employed. Regardless of if your union, non-union, in the oil patch, working inland, or on a tug, we are all trying to accomplish the same thing. That being said we should all stand up with our MEBA brothers in support of them to show that this pitting of one union against another is just not right.

hopefully amo will help support the meba and work together.

with meba loosing the liberty contract almost all meba deck officers are out of a job. Think about the guys who only needed a few more years to retire. Liberty was pretty much the only spot for meba deck officers. Now what do they do ?

So much for fraternity and brotherhood! How does this effect the engineers at Liberty?

I couldn’t agree with you more brother. The MEBA didn’t cross AMO’s Picket Line recently in the Great Lakes, [B]not sure why the powers to be in the AMO Head Quarters think this is proper behavior to cross a picket line of another Union in the AFL-CIO. [/B]

What the heck is going on here?

Better yet how does this effect our industry, here we go, race to the bottom.

UPDATE: just got word from a friend down in Galveston Texas the AMO indeed crossed the Picket Line, so much for Union Brotherhood eh

whats going on with the ships that are currently overseas ? is amo taking them over as of today, or next port call, or next time they are back in the usa ?

This is just off the AMO Web site: [B]I’m, ashamed[/B]

New jobs for AMO aboard five Liberty Maritime Corporation ships

AMO members manning Liberty’s bulk carrier fleet in all licensed positions

American Maritime Officers members Oct. 1 manned four ships owned and operated by Liberty Maritime Corporation as a collective bargaining agreement with the company was being finalized. A fifth vessel is currently undergoing maintenance in a shipyard overseas.

The Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA District 1) had previously represented the officers on the five ships. MEBA District 1 reported Sept. 30 that it had been negotiating with the company “for several months,” but failed to secure a new agreement with Liberty prior expiration of that union’s contract at midnight.

AMO officers went aboard Liberty’s bulk carriers - the M/V Liberty Glory, M/V Liberty Sun, M/V Liberty Spirit and M/V Liberty Eagle - on the U.S. Gulf Coast Oct. 1 and prepared to begin work with a new AMO-contracted company. AMO will also be manning the M/V Liberty Grace in all licensed positions.

“Liberty expressed strong confidence in the caliber and professionalism of AMO officers, and took particular notice of the AMO Defined Contribution Plan, which provides AMO members with a substantial self-directed retirement investment benefit while eliminating the liability and loss risk associated with traditional defined benefit pension plans,” said AMO National President Tom Bethel.

“There is a lot of heated rhetoric being slung about at this point, and I expect there will be more to come,” Bethel said. "The fact remains the MEBA leadership was unable to come to terms with the company and secure an agreement despite having, as they said, several months to resolve the issues on the table. Liberty simply chose AMO as the superior option.

“I am proud to be bringing these jobs to the AMO membership, proud that our union is manning these ships for continued service in the U.S.-flag fleet,” Bethel said. “The licensed engineering and deck officers represented by AMO are second to none across the board. With experienced leadership, the best training resources, and rewarding, realistic and well-managed benefit plans, there is present prosperity and a promising future for the AMO membership.”

AMO members will be manning the five Liberty bulk carriers in every licensed position. As a new AMO-contracted operating company, all jobs in the Liberty Maritime bulk carrier fleet will qualify for the AMO Defined Contribution Plan at Schedule 2 rates.

Liberty’s bulk carriers operate primarily in the PL-480 cargo preference trades, carrying U.S. government impelled cargoes to ports around the world

[B]Get this part: “There is a lot of heated rhetoric being slung about at this point, and I expect there will be more to come,” Bethel said. What a joke![/B]

And yet another round of lower wages with looser work rules. I wonder if the contract Bethel signed had anything on it other than “all Employees will become members of the AMO” .
Working for $15.00 an hour, with 20 days of vacation.

Why did Liberty & MEBA have a falling out after all these years? I guess the court will have to settle it once again.

AMO just Backdoor’d MEBA to get the contract and now you think they won’t cross the picket line.

Of course they crossed. Like it was said, they negotiated a contract while MEBA still had one. I don’t know how anyone who belongs to AMO could consider them a union after this. Scabs is what they are.

There is always more to the story. Does anybody have any actual details of what led to the ‘breakup’ after all these years?

[QUOTE=JBM.PDX;55871]There is always more to the story. Does anybody have any actual details of what led to the ‘breakup’ after all these years?[/QUOTE]

I can’t find it now but yesterday I read that Liberty wanted to get away from MEBA’s defined retirement, evidently AMO is 401 k only?


Yes, support for the MEBA is the right thing to do

Thank you KC. It’s not my nature to accept that this- and for that matter any other problem- just happens. Someone @ Liberty opened the bypass valve. For all our sake- I’d like to know what the underlying problem was/is- and why they felt it was necessary- and now what are they going to do about it- if anything. Seems like Liberty thinks MEBA is the problem- and MEBA thinks AMO is the problem. We’re kind of focussed on the obvious short implications of this- but what about the long term implications. Whatever the problem is- has it been isolated- or is it something more fundamental? I agree that “united we stand- divided we fall”- but honestly- I’m not even 100% sure what I stand for- well- other than my family.

Regardless of the MEBA -Liberty relationship AMO violated articles and also crossed a picket line. Does AMO even have a pension anymore? Last I heard CHENG’s were retiring with 40k a year annuities and still sailing to make ends meet.