Union or non-union?


#1

So, currently I work for Weeks Marine as a deckineer. Basically an AB but since there’s no dedicated engineer on-board, I do that too. Been here 8 months and all is well.
I’m curious how joining a union and taking that route could benefit me. I get benefits here but no pension. I wish I was on larger tonnage vessels to get higher credentials as well. My last company was SIU affiliated and began paying my dues, even though I’ve never used them. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks


#2

you have a job and all is well…what more do you want?


#3

Weeks doesn’t have a 401k with some kind of match?
Not sure what kind of aspirations you have for upgrading, but if you are working on a tug over 100 grt that should be sufficient for most plans you may have.
With the right contract you could find a union gig that has more perks than you may have now such as free school for upgrading. Sometimes the benefits could be better too. Like c. captain said if all is well, what do you want that they can’t provide?


#4

sailed for 45 yrs/ had a bk. in 1970 would work for a private co. here and there . been rec, a pension only thru the union. union is always there , you can work ashore and go back and pick up where you left off.


#5

Well, I’d like to obtain endorsements that keep me as flexible as possible for potential future opportunities. The free schooling is attractive and the pension as well. I’ve been under the impression that by sailing as an AB on larger tonnage vessels that I can obtain higher tonnage endorsements. I have more to say and ask on this discussion but I’ll wait for replies before continuing. Thank you very much to all who have replied!


#6

Weeks does match up to 5% on the 401k, yes


#7

Question: So, in the union, once you get a job, it could be anywhere from 30 days to 6 months? I believe I understand that correctly but correct me if I’m wrong.
Next question: after my first hitch, I can take off as long as I want and just come back to work when I want?
And the next: So, my last company was SIU affiliated and I was paying my membership dues. I didn’t pay the initiation fee entirely either, maybe $600 or $700 worth. I’ve never used the SIU for anything either. Not sure what this means for me, if anything?? Thanks in advance for all the replies.


#8

As I stated earlier, as long as you are working on a tug over 100 grt (I know weeks’ fleet has some) that should handle most, if not all possible upgrades.
Hypothetically you could test for a 3rd mates ticket with tug time over 100 grt, but you would probably get a tonnage limitation. I recommend acquainting yourself with the checklists.

Some union companies can hire you directly, then you join the union after hire within an agreed time frame.
You should check if you are in good standing with the siu and start contacting companies that have contracts with them…if you are already a member, that could give you a leg up over someone who isn’t.


#9

Right out of school, I joined MEBA and shipped (finally) out of the San Francisco hall. Took a couple of months. Of course this was when the bottom was starting to fall out of shipping. I was young and figured that it would turn around quickly, but it didn’t and I ran out of jingle before I got another seagoing berth. I then took a job directly with Crowley and had to join the SIU. It all depends. All of Crowley’s Mates, Captains and Engineers were direct hires at the time. Some of the deckhand jobs would come off of the board in the Houston SIU hall. . .


#10

Is weeks SIU or Operators Union? Great Lakes was operators union.


#11

Had a friend that worked for them a few years ago on their tugs and they were non-union.
I was working in ny harbor 15 yrs ago and I remember they were local 25 then.


#12

Any reason. Why I shouldn’t sit for my 500 grt mates license? Can the master write a letter stating I perform bridge watchkeeping duties? Says I need 90 days…can that just be me actually just helping keep a watch in the wheelhouse, literally?


#13

You may qualify for your 1600 grt mates license depending on how many days you have as an ab and such.
The rules have changed in who can sign off your assessments, or will be soon. There are some threads about that on here. Either now or soon everyone will have to be vetted by the uscg to be an assessor, which previously all it took was a master holding a license greater than 200 grt and a year of seatime as master.
I’m sure someone will correct me if I am partially wrong but that’s about the jist of it.
Either way all that would pertain to your stcw/oicnw. You probably already have the sea time for a national 500/1600 grt mate.


#14

Yes your first hitch can be up to 6 months, just depends on the boat you go to.

If the company offers you a full time spot then no you can’t just take off as much time as you want. They will put you in rotation. If you just want to work a hitch then take as much time off as you want, then your just going to go to the hall for a new assignment and that could and can take a while.