Union vs. Non-Union (Towboat jobs thread from Maritime Employment Forum)

Out of respect for bell47’s request, and apparent ongoing interest in the topic, I’m starting a thread here to continue the discussion that has been going on in the Towboat jobs thread in the Maritime Employment Forum about Union vs. Non-Union jobs.

For me, the topic is of interest because of it’s continuing interference with my livelihood. As I posted in the Towboat Jobs thread, I view Union vs. Non-Union as being a cost of doing business, each with it’s own perks and pitfalls. For the most part, I’m ambivalent on the subject, but I know die hard Union guys and equally die hard Non-Union guys. I’ve worked with both and respect both. I’ve been with McAllister of New York for 7 years now and have been through 3 Union votes. Rest assured the 4th is coming in the near future. It is an interference for me because it detracts from our jobs and pits crewmember against crewmember, this is a facet I am not fond of.

Some parts I would like clarification on and some things I would appreciate knowing the source of the information. How much is truth and how much is embellished. I’m not looking for a mudslinging contest, I’m not trying to insult anyone, but when something I know directly contradicts what someone else is stating as fact, it leaves me wondering, do they know and just not care, is their information outdated, or is their information from a friend of a guy who knows a guy that had a friend that worked for…?

So, in the interest of clarfication…

[QUOTE=cappy208;47965]Most companies who are non Union are 2 for 1 or 3 for 1. Unfortunately you are looking for ‘Union conditions’ at non union companies. That will be hard (if not impossible) to find. There are some companies out there who do offer even time, but most don’t.

I keep harping about pay because most of these 2 for 1 or 3 for 1 jobs pay (at the end of the year) the same gross pay as the better even time jobs. Just so you and others who are trying to glean information about work, pay, conditions will know the WHOLE employment picture out there. There seems to be a huge lack of awareness concerning work condition, equity and benefits. I can’t understand why some guys would desire to work uneven time, for the same annual gross pay as other even time jobs. Doesn’t your home life matter to you?[/QUOTE]

Which companies, specifically, are “Most companies”? When I started with McAllister they were 2 for 1. Now however, with the exception of the deckhands on 2 boats, the Justine and the Christine, everyone works equal time, 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off.

I don’t know about the deckhands for Vane Brothers but the wheelhouse personnel I know work 2 & 2. Bouchard is a moot point, last I was aware Morty makes sure his people make a sufficient daily rate to keep any noises about pushing the union a non-issue.

I haven’t seen a company in New York that works 3 for 1, please enlighten me (so I know what company to avoid like the plague should I go looking for another job).

Are you limiting your comparison to Local 333 companies and southern companies? In which case all of the above is meaningless.

I am also intrigued by bell47’s comment about needing to seriously evaluate where his dues would go if he were offered a union job. For many of the southern guys there seems to be a principled opposition to unions. Is it because they just don’t understand or is it so common place in the Northeast that it’s just accepted. I know I can’t help but shake my head when I see the competing ads on TV about the teachers in NY. One stating that Mayor Bloomberg is misguided and doesn’t need to cut the budget for Teachers. The other one stating that they need to do away with the last teacher hired is the first teacher fired law. I think to myself, are you serious? I realize that the teacher’s union is looking out for their membership, that’s their job isn’t it? But what happened to the children being first? Is it automatically assumed that the last teacher hired is the worst teacher or is that irrelevant?

Enough rambling out of me. Hopefully there is enough fodder to continue a civil conversation on the subject.

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If our pay was ‘equal’ or near equal, then this would be a non issue. However, our pay is NOT even. No way, No how. Ask around. Is your pay really equal to the guys you mentioned? Really? You go home for half the year? And make the same pay per year??? I sincerely doubt it! Does it matter where you work? either at the ‘Intersection’ or Bergen Point? I really doubt it! I am amazed at how some guys can compare working for 9 months (for the same pay) can even think they have parity to a guy who makes the exact same pay for 6 months work. But I do acknowledge that some guys feelings of dues, open shop and union antipathy would make up for that. But the post was to enlighten ALL new comers to the industry about the differences in wages, hiring and working conditions.

There are companies in the GOM who regularly work 2 and 3 for 1. That’s two weeks on, one week off, or three weeks on, one week off. You can substitute weeks for trips, hauls, or any other unit. It still happens. GCT, DOT, DM, Signet, Any other small inland company, come on, need I say more?? Chouest, Harvey Gulf, let me stop now. please…

Bouchard employee’s were informed a couple months ago that they may be ‘requested’ to work 6 and 3, because of lack of relief. Vane does have a two and two schedule. But is this equal when the guys make 20% less than Northeast rates? OK, I will work even time, but I will take 20% less to do it!? You mention Mcallister. Do all their crews work even time? How about Norfolk? Jacksonville? Miami? Portland? Baltimore? You are talking about the New York harbor fleet, in direct competition with, and against 333 companies. Gee, I wonder why they are even time!?

You may be right about my embellishment, but I really doubt that ‘it detracts from our jobs and pits crewmember against crewmember’ since a living wage is a living wage no matter where it is earned, or how it is deserved. The decision about whether to participate in a Union is purely personal. However when the almighty dollar sign is thrown in, it becomes another story!

This should be a good thread. I used to be anti-union but im starting to see where it could be a good thing for it to come where I work. Day rates are low, boats and living conditions are junk, and the office no longer even seems to care about us. I wouldnt like to pay out more of my money in dues but if voteing in the union would help get my pay up it would be worth it.

Mcallister in Norfolk is all equal time, Jax Balt and Lauderdale are call in. Vane is all equal time. In fact the only major east coast companies that I know of who are still 2/1 are Dann and Weeks. If Bouchard needs people then I hope they will look at the application I sent them. I would love to get on at a place with newer, clean boats.

Being on a boat away from our familys is always hard enough, but when it comes down to safety and getting paid for the job you have been hired to do thats where Ive always agreed on union companys. Some guys make a big thing out of paying union dues, or the initial money to join, but when you look @ what other jobs are out there that arent union its easy to swallow the expense. Compare union pay to non union pay for tankerman, I make over 400 a day on an ATB, Bouchard pays something like 330 plus travel pay, Vane pays 320-ish a day, the poor southern tankerman @ Kirby and Blessy make 250 a day, loading and discharging products most of us wouldnt want to even think about. When I havent gotten paid for days I have worked or overtime not counted its an easy call to the office, usually no union needed. Try doing that @ some of these lower paying non union companys, where they tell you too #%^&*% bad you have no relief and you have already been on the boat 6 weeks, see what recourse you have then. As far as some of the other unions go I can only talk about 333, which has always done right by me. The story Ive gotten from some of the old timers here is that they went on STRIKE to get equal time, Im not saying working over if you need the money is a wrong thing either, but if you want to work 28/14 plus for 250 a day, over not paying union dues, you may want to consider sleeping with that pillow held fastly against your face tonight and do us all a favor.

[QUOTE=cappy208;47979]If our pay was ‘equal’ or near equal, then this would be a non issue. However, our pay is NOT even. No way, No how. Ask around. Is your pay really equal to the guys you mentioned? Really? You go home for half the year? And make the same pay per year??? I sincerely doubt it! Does it matter where you work? either at the ‘Intersection’ or Bergen Point? I really doubt it! I am amazed at how some guys can compare working for 9 months (for the same pay) can even think they have parity to a guy who makes the exact same pay for 6 months work. But I do acknowledge that some guys feelings of dues, open shop and union antipathy would make up for that. But the post was to enlighten ALL new comers to the industry about the differences in wages, hiring and working conditions.[/QUOTE]

If you truly wish to “enlighten ALL new comers to the industry” then please be so kind as to keep the backhanded insults under your hat and stick to facts.

The information I am comparing is one year out of date, including my position, my pay rate, and my schedule. But comparing what I know, an AB Deckhand, I don’t think things have changed that much. I don’t have a copy of any contracts that began on 7/1/2010 but it wouldn’t take much effort to get them. Bottom line is I am well informed about the wages in New York, I don’t need to ask around. So when I compare what I made a year ago working as an AB on a 4 and 2 schedule to the rate an AB for Reinauer made working equal time, surprisingly enough my gross at the end of year was more, as I stated in the other thread, about $15,000 more. I’m willing to work an extra 2 months to make an extra $15,000, but that’s just me. Do I make as much as your Mate now that I’m on an equal time schedule? Nope. But I also don’t do the job your Mate does, not yet anyway. Is the $50.00 travel per diem included in the $526 you are stating? I’m assuming not, which would mean that our Mate’s that push oil make about 6.5% less per day. While it’s always nice to make more, I’m comfortable where I’m at. I don’t have to be the highest paid, I just need to be in the ball park.

Now if you want to compare wages with a company on the rivers, yes, I understand and agree with your point. Why work so much more to make the same amount of money. When I accepted the job offer with McAllister I had two job offers, one down south for $90.00 a day and one with McAllister for $160.00.

There are companies in the GOM who regularly work 2 and 3 for 1. That’s two weeks on, one week off, or three weeks on, one week off. You can substitute weeks for trips, hauls, or any other unit. It still happens. GCT, DOT, DM, Signet, Any other small inland company, come on, need I say more?? Chouest, Harvey Gulf, let me stop now. please…
I understand the concept of equal time, 2 for 1, 3 for 1 etc. and I’m fairly certain most people can figure it out without an in depth discussion. I’m not familiar with many of the companies you’ve mentioned by initials, that’s partially why I wanted to explore the subject further. But now that you’ve named names I’m curious if any posters work for any of the companies you’ve named. In the case of McAllister I can state, and prove, that I make considerably more year over year with a 2 and 1 schedule because there is not this huge disparity in wages you suggest. But what about Chouest? Can anyone compare their wages on a 2 and 1 schedule to the Mate’s pay of $526 per day on an equal schedule?

Bouchard employee’s were informed a couple months ago that they may be ‘requested’ to work 6 and 3, because of lack of relief. Vane does have a two and two schedule. But is this equal when the guys make 20% less than Northeast rates? OK, I will work even time, but I will take 20% less to do it!? You mention Mcallister. Do all their crews work even time? How about Norfolk? Jacksonville? Miami? Portland? Baltimore? You are talking about the New York harbor fleet, in direct competition with, and against 333 companies. Gee, I wonder why they are even time!?
Again, historically Bouchard is one of the highest paying companies to keep the grousing about the union out. If they’re making as much, if not more, on a daily rate than the Union companies then they are making substantially more year over year than the union is working equal time. Let’s use a nice round figure of $500 per day (close to the $526 your Mate makes). $500 per day for 180 days is $90,000 per year. Do you wish to imply that a Mate for Bouchard is only making $90,000 a year working 2 for 1? That’s $375 per day, that’s less than I make and I don’t have the responsibility of moving oil yet.

I don’t have hard numbers on Vane Brothers, I guess I could make a few phone calls and find out. But I have to ask, what’s the hang up about equal? You and I are not equal, you have significantly more experience in this industry than I do. I understand that much of the work is the same but often times those performing the work are not. This is one of my personal disagreements with a Union. I believe things should be based more on merit, rather than equality or longevity. I certainly don’t want to be judged equally or on longevity when it comes to layoffs.

My apologies, I don’t know about the other McAllister ports, again, part of the reason for continuing this discussion and seeking others input.

As far as equal time for the New York office? The stated reason is to keep as many guys working and covered under benefits. While altruistic, I personally find it completely stupid if you’re not paying extremely close to what the other companies are paying. It eliminates the incentive of work more get paid more. But then again, no one is hiring right now that I’m aware of, so it’s a moot point.

You may be right about my embellishment, but I really doubt that ‘it detracts from our jobs and pits crewmember against crewmember’ since a living wage is a living wage no matter where it is earned, or how it is deserved. The decision about whether to participate in a Union is purely personal. However when the almighty dollar sign is thrown in, it becomes another story!
I believe you may have misunderstood me. I do not believe that being part of a Union detracts from the job or pits crewmember against crewmember. All of the rhetoric and politics, from both sides, leading up to a vote however does.

What is considered a living wage may not depend on where you earn it, but it definitely depends on where you spend it. As far as the changes once the almighty dollar gets thrown into the mix, I will again refer to bell47’s principled comments.

The only thing I doubt in your post is your comment that ‘others get the concept of 2 for 1’ I sincerely disagree. Some guys don’t know ANYTHING else! They hear from the almighty office that the schedule here is 2 for 1 (14 and 7, 28 and 14, 30 and 15etc etc etc) So the poor guy shrugs, accepts this as fait accompli, and it is a ‘condition of employment’ as you said, regarding choice. There is another whole life out there! It doesn’t revolve around the office, but around our personal lives. Time at home is what drives ME in this business. I hope to share that with others who may be thinking about this as a career choice. Alot of people cruise this forum to find out info about what we do for a living, how we do it, how much it pays (generally) and what the conditions are.

Are the eastcoast unions on ATO?

“I understand that much of the work is the same but often times those performing the work are not. This is one of my personal disagreements with a Union. I believe things should be based more on merit, rather than equality or longevity. I certainly don’t want to be judged equally or on longevity when it comes to layoffs.”

As a 333 member I can say that I agree wholeheartedly with your view. But also remember that union wages are minimum required wages.
It’s possible to be paid over the union wage based on merit.

[QUOTE=Cal;47984] This is one of my personal disagreements with a Union. I believe things should be based more on merit, rather than equality or longevity. I certainly don’t want to be judged equally or on longevity when it comes to layoffs…[/QUOTE]

Lot’s of us would like to be judged on merit but when I was job hunting I quickly learned that “merit” means having gone to the same school as the guy in charge of hiring. In some segments of the towing industry “merit” means taking a rusty unsafe vessel to sea without squawking about it. I personally don’t like the idea of having to kiss some desk jockey ass to stay in the companies good graces.

As far as being judged equally that’s nonsense. Do you think that those guys running the union tugs got their jobs in an environment where everyone’s skill are judged as equal? I think captains and mates working those tugs would vehemently disagree. The sea is not a democracy and the union guys made it to the top by being good at their jobs. Not based some misguided idea of equality. On the water, skill and merit maters, union or non-union.

K.C.

“…[I][B].the work is the same but often times those performing the work are not.[/B][/I]” This is such an important point to make, I am surprised no one else has keyed in on it.

But the quote is quite telling, in that it acknowledges that all of our perceptions may not even be in the same ballpark!

I certainly don’t feel that I should be ‘rewarded’ by having a less senior captain taking my job in a downturn, because he ‘feels’ that he is better than I. It is quite telling that some feel they are ‘worth’ more than I after I have been a loyal, effective Captain for more years than Thou!

The mention of Union scale is quite illuminating too. Everyone wants to ‘make’ a fair wage. But only through collective bargaining is this achieved. Then, the surrounding wages and conditions equalize. (Whether Union or not) This is thanks to… Unions! Look up “Gulf Coast Mariners” if you want some info on collective bargaining, and collective information on workplace employment conditions. Like you will get the straight truth from your office!! Hah!

Well, I had no idea that my previous post would spawn all this! I really don’t have a problem with someone joining a union, when they get hired, to get a good job. The problems I have are the unions themselves. Keep in mind that this is MY opinion, and everyone has one, YOU are entitled to your’s as well. The problem that I have with unions stems from my personal expierience working at a union shop. I have been told to “slow down” and “don’t work so hard, it will make us look bad”…WTF, aren’t we there to work? Well, I’m gonna work hard, and get as much done as I can. Tough shit if it makes some union slacker look bad. The union at this shop totally protects slackers and the laziest people you can imagine. I was hired by the company, I don’t work for the union. The company is there to MAKE A PROFIT. If there is productive work to be done, I’m willing to do it. I have been told " don’t pick up that trash on the floor, that’s taking away work from a union member." Well get that lazy sack of monkey shit over here to clean the shit up! If it needs doing, don’t get in my way. It’smy work station, and I want it clean. I get in trouble constanly for not taking breaks and a 30 minute lunch. Well, here’s the deal, I’m a big boy and I can descide for my self when I need a break and how long it takes me to eat my lunch. If I need a break, I’ll take one, if I need two, I’'l take two, but I’m not taking a break just for the damn sake of taking a break. And, lunch, I’m right there and I bring my lunch, it doesn’t take me 30 damn minutes to eat a sandwich and a apple. Also, the union members act like the company OWES THEM A JOB. Let me make this clear…no one owes you a job. Seriously, they think this company’s sole purpose is to provide them a good living. Companies do not last long when this happens. A company is there for one reason and one reason only…to make a profit for it’s owners and shareholders. That’s it. Do you know how they make this profit? On the backs of employees. YUP, that’s how it works. They are not obligated to pay anymore than they have to to get the work done. The less they have to pay for labor the more PROFIT MARGINE they have, therefor they are more successful in achieving their sole goal of making a profit. When did making a profit in this country become a bad thing? Now if employees get together and negotiate certain pay for certain jobs, more power to them. But when you have to join a union before you can even get hired, or when the unions are TELLING THE COMPANIES how to operate…well that’s like the monkeys running the zoo. Also, don’t EVER let the union managment tell you that “they are there for you, the worker.” Guess what, they are there to make a profit too. The union itself may be a non profit entity, but there are unions who’s managment makes huge bucks, and they don’t give a shit about the workers, just keep the dues coming in. In other words, they are making big profits on the backs of workers! Sound familiar? Someone please explain to me how it’s good for a union to make a worker slow down, not work as hard as they want to, or take breaks when they don’t want to. When unions discourage work, I have a problem with them. When unions protect laziness, I have a problem with them. When unions keep motivated ambitious workers from achieving their full potential, I have a problem with them. When unions get paid their dues by someone who doesn’t want to be in the union but are forced to pay them anyway…well that to me is just criminal. What’s the diffence between that and a kickback, or a payoff to the mafia just to have a job? I haven’t even touched on the fact that unions support/endorse election candidates that I may not want to support…

Bell47: Everything you said, ditto. BUT, if there were NO Union around, then guess what would happen to all our wages? Kind of like the old question: Who came first the chicken or the egg. Either way, If the workers don’t stick together, then we are all fighting our own individual ‘battles’ for pay, benefits, jobs and retirement. read back to theat quote from seadawg about Unions make sure the rank and file sticks together. Loners, and bitchers do NOTHING to contribute to the overall economic growth of any industry. I have lived through the big strike of '88. Luckily I was NOT employed in NYC then. BUT alot of guys lives were royally screwed up because of that strike, and I don’t forgive or accept the guys who crossed the picket lines then (or now)

Cal: You mentioned Morty’s Navy. If the pay is so good, why aren’t you there? I am NOT there because I detest Morty Bouchard. He has singlehandedly screwed up more lives than anyone else in the marine industry I know of. Great pay or not it ain’t worth it. I have principles and morals.

You both have about 10 years experience. When you look back and can honestly say: “I have earned my job.” “I have not taken a job someone else’s expense.” and “I do at least as good as 50% of my fellow employees.” Then we can talk about pay, equality, fairness in the job market and seniority.

I have lived through SO many guys blowing their own horn, and self promoting it makes me sick. But in the end these blowhards are usually left on the side of the channel, wallowing in their amazement at being left behind.

[QUOTE=seadog!;48009]As a 333 member I can say that I agree wholeheartedly with your view. But also remember that union wages are minimum required wages.
It’s possible to be paid over the union wage based on merit.[/QUOTE]

Fair enough. Can’t say I had ever considered that. Since you bring it up, do know many people that are paid above the contract rate? How do their co-workers feel about this?

[QUOTE=Kennebec Captain;48103]Lot’s of us would like to be judged on merit but when I was job hunting I quickly learned that “merit” means having gone to the same school as the guy in charge of hiring. In some segments of the towing industry “merit” means taking a rusty unsafe vessel to sea without squawking about it. I personally don’t like the idea of having to kiss some desk jockey ass to stay in the companies good graces.[/QUOTE]

No matter how accurate you are, and believe me, I know you are, what you are talking about does not equate to merit. It’s bias, plain and simple. Nepotism at it’s best (or worst as the case may be). There are the obvious examples and then there is the fine line between between kissing someone’s ass and going the extra mile. It’s taken me many years to get a handle on it. Do I step over the line from time to time, sure, when I realize it I’m looking back and kicking myself. For no other reason than they try to take advantage of you more. I’ve gotten better at being on the other side of that line though. Either way, I sleep comfortably at night with my dignity and self respect intact.

[QUOTE=Kennebec Captain;48103]As far as being judged equally that’s nonsense. Do you think that those guys running the union tugs got their jobs in an environment where everyone’s skill are judged as equal? I think captains and mates working those tugs would vehemently disagree. The sea is not a democracy and the union guys made it to the top by being good at their jobs. Not based some misguided idea of equality. On the water, skill and merit maters, union or non-union.[/QUOTE]

Let’s be clear here, it is not my intent to diminish or belittle the efforts or achievements of someone else. I am interested in the viewpoints people have about Unions, for or against, and why they feel the way they do. There are many irrational, emotional viewpoints on the subject. There are people who are staunch union supporters and those who are anti-union to the core without any real ability to articulate clearly just what their reasons/objections are. I have a deep respect for the people in this industry, regardless of what company they work for or what union they may or may not be a member of. If you want the most capable, competent, and driven people watching your back, then look no further.

Don’t forget to reference your first paragraph, much of it, union or non-union, relies on the same nepotism you’ve run into with hiring. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that is all to often a significant factor.

A couple of years ago McAllister and Reinauer sent guys off to classes to obtain their 1600 Ton license. I don’t know what the criteria for either company was in selecting their candidates, one would assume that merit played a large part. Don’t ask me to defend the criteria nor any candidate, I’m merely expressing a viewpoint of the process as I saw it. It seems to me that if a Company chose to invest that much money in someone, merit would have played a significant role. 3 of the Reinauer candidates were laid off at the beginning of the downturn, May or April of 2009. The reason we were told was their lack of seniority in the Union.

Sea Stories are Sea Stories. Take a little bit of truth and turn it into a grand adventure, that’s part of the fun. I’ve heard many over the years and when possible, I try to verify what I hear if it’s of interest to me. Have I heard other, similar stories? Sure. Above is a first hand account of a particular situation, one instance that verified for me that some of the stories I’ve heard are true. I don’t expect it to change your opinion, for you, all it is is a Sea Story. For me, it makes me take more notice of longevity and seniority when considering a Union.

[QUOTE=cappy208;48015]I certainly don’t feel that I should be ‘rewarded’ by having a less senior captain taking my job in a downturn, because he ‘feels’ that he is better than I. It is quite telling that some feel they are ‘worth’ more than I after I have been a loyal, effective Captain for more years than Thou![/QUOTE]

What about what the company ‘feels’? If you have a captain with less seniority than you that can manipulate the company into keeping him over you is it a matter of merit, seniority, or nepotism? Why should they have zero say in the matter? After all, they are the one’s that sign your paycheck. Who is it you have been loyal to? The Union or the Company? Please, don’t take offense at the question, I think it’s fair game, you put it out there. I would offer that the best interests of the Company and the best interests of the Union are not always one in the same. So where do the loyalties lie?

[QUOTE=cappy208;48015]The mention of Union scale is quite illuminating too. Everyone wants to ‘make’ a fair wage. But only through collective bargaining is this achieved.[/QUOTE]

The only place “Union scale” is mentioned is in your post. I make a fair wage that was attained without collective bargaining. One could say that’s it’s because of the Union companies nearby. But that argument doesn’t hold water when one considers that I worked in the Gulf and and made $10 a day less than I did in the Northeast.

[QUOTE=bell47;48016]I have been told to “slow down” and “don’t work so hard, it will make us look bad”…WTF, aren’t we there to work? Well, I’m gonna work hard, and get as much done as I can. Tough shit if it makes some union slacker look bad. The union at this shop totally protects slackers and the laziest people you can imagine. I was hired by the company, I don’t work for the union. The company is there to MAKE A PROFIT. If there is productive work to be done, I’m willing to do it. I have been told " don’t pick up that trash on the floor, that’s taking away work from a union member." Well get that lazy sack of monkey shit over here to clean the shit up! If it needs doing, don’t get in my way. It’smy work station, and I want it clean. I get in trouble constanly for not taking breaks and a 30 minute lunch. Well, here’s the deal, I’m a big boy and I can descide for my self when I need a break and how long it takes me to eat my lunch. If I need a break, I’ll take one, if I need two, I’'l take two, but I’m not taking a break just for the damn sake of taking a break. And, lunch, I’m right there and I bring my lunch, it doesn’t take me 30 damn minutes to eat a sandwich and a apple.[/QUOTE]

I can say that in New York Harbor I have not run into this type of attitude ever, not once.

[QUOTE=bell47;48016]Also, the union members act like the company OWES THEM A JOB.[/QUOTE]

This one unfortunately is not limited to Union members only! LOL

[QUOTE=cappy208;48021]Cal: You mentioned Morty’s Navy. If the pay is so good, why aren’t you there? I am NOT there because I detest Morty Bouchard. He has singlehandedly screwed up more lives than anyone else in the marine industry I know of. Great pay or not it ain’t worth it. I have principles and morals.[/QUOTE]

I don’t remember stating that I was unhappy with what I make now? I mentioned Morty’s Navy as part of the wage discussion. I would have to be EXTREMELY desperate to accept a position with Bouchard, I’ve witnessed some of that insanity first hand as well. I find it particularly tacky to quote oneself on message boards but since you apparently missed it:

[QUOTE=Cal;47984]While it’s always nice to make more, I’m comfortable where I’m at. I don’t have to be the highest paid, I just need to be in the ball park.[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE=cappy208;48021]You both have about 10 years experience. When you look back and can honestly say: “I have earned my job.” “I have not taken a job someone else’s expense.” and “I do at least as good as 50% of my fellow employees.” Then we can talk about pay, equality, fairness in the job market and seniority.

I have lived through SO many guys blowing their own horn, and self promoting it makes me sick. But in the end these blowhards are usually left on the side of the channel, wallowing in their amazement at being left behind.[/QUOTE]

Wow! You’ll have to excuse me if I am unable to contain the sarcasm, but your last statements are a bit over the top. You’re going to set requirements for others having a discussion? Equality and fairness are Union tenets, why don’t you try defending them, I’m on the other side of the fence remember? Personally I’ve lived enough of life to know that it ain’t fair and no amount of collective bargaining or lawmaking is going to change that. My only option is to stay one step ahead of it so that’s what I try to do.

While I believe in God, I’m also a fan of Darwin. It is very noble of you to be concerned about not taking a job at someone else’s expense. While I have consideration and compassion for my fellow man, make no mistake, if it’s a choice between my family and your family I’ll be fighting for mine. I would expect you to do the same.

What I can honestly say is irrelevant. If I were to claim I have met your 3 requirements for having a discussion then I would merely be dismissed as a blowhard.

Why couldn’t you have just asked me if I’ve stopped beating my wife? No right answer to that question either, but at least she get’s that quizzical look on her face which is really sexy…:rolleyes:

[QUOTE=Cal;47972]
For me, the topic is of interest because of it’s continuing interference with my livelihood. As I posted in the Towboat Jobs thread, I view Union vs. Non-Union as being a cost of doing business, each with it’s own perks and pitfalls. For the most part, I’m ambivalent on the subject, but I know die hard Union guys and equally die hard Non-Union guys. I’ve worked with both and respect both…[/QUOTE]

I agree with Cal, this topic is of great interest to me, especially as I just started working on the East coast where this seems to be a “hot issue”. But at the end of the day, and I know I will get slammed for this, isn’t it purely an academic issue? Call me a babe in the woods but I personally will work for whoever I have to to provide for my family the best way possible (especially in this economic climate), be that union shop or non-union shop. Seems to me that they both can be a 500 pound gorilla sitting on your chest

Thanks to Cal. This has been a really interesting post. Pro-union or Anti-union…it’s good to see different prospectives on the subject. That way at least you have an idea why the other guys think the way they do. I would venture to say also, that not all unions or members are the same. Cal, you said above that you had not seen some of the behavior that I had seen while you were working in NY harbor, I would really like to think my situation is totally isolated, but I’ve heard of similar situations elswhere too. Union or not, I still have total respect for what the U.S. marine industry accomplishes everyday, 24/7/365.

I am not necessarily union or non-union, I’ve worked both.

What I am trying to point out is this idea that promotions in unions are based not on merit but on seniority or some notion of equality is wrong.

Citizens of the United States have certain rights granted to them by the Constitution. The preamble famously states that “all men are created equal” but goes on to say that they have certain “inalienable rights” … What if someone were to say that they were unhappy that the idea of citizens rights because they want to get ahead based on their willingness to work hard and their ability to learn the required skills. I would say that that person seriously misunderstands the principles of citizens rights.

Workers have rights as well, these rights vary from state to state. A union contract provides rights to workers above and beyond what is granted by the state. Just as your rights as a citizen does not mean every person is treated equally in the marketplace, neither do the rights granted by a union contract mean that promotion is merit free, based on seniority alone. To suggest that union tug mates and captains are not promoted based on skills and experience is an insult to those mariners.

The company I’m with now is union, and the biggest issue I see is not promotion based on seniority, but the total inability to get rid of someone incompetent. You have mates that have been run off of every boat in the fleet, because no Captain can trust them. Just about everyone refuses to sail with them, but the company has to find someplace for them because if they don’t the union will kick and scream. The Captains don’t have the power to fire somebody here. They can try, but what happens is they get them off their vessel, then the next guy is saddled with the exact same problem. That’s my issue, not every worker deserves a job, if you are incompetent, and an all around shitty mate, and everyone knows it, you have no place being out here, there is just too much at stake.

[QUOTE=50thState;48037]the total inability to get rid of someone incompetent. You have mates that have been run off of every boat in the fleet, because no Captain can trust them. Just about everyone refuses to sail with them, but the company has to find someplace for them because if they don’t the union will kick and scream. The Captains don’t have the power to fire somebody here. They can try, but what happens is they get them off their vessel, then the next guy is saddled with the exact same problem. That’s my issue, not every worker deserves a job, if you are incompetent, and an all around shitty mate, and everyone knows it, you have no place being out here, there is just too much at stake.[/QUOTE]

You have raised a good point here and I don’t know your situation but my experiences are quite different. As captain I do have the power to fire and in fact have fired both licensed and unlicensed…You have to follow the procedures and document the various step, it really not that hard. Often what happens is captains do not follow the procedures and instead run them off or fire them without proper cause. This is why they end up being someone else s’ problem.

As soon as I have a crew problem I call them into my office, give them a witnessed verbal warning which I document. If they continue to cause problems or are incompetent I follow up with written warnings ect. Truth be told it can be a bit burdensome, I’ve made copies of chart plots and so forth which is a pain.

Thus far the people I have fired have not come back.Bottom line is if your captains can’t fire someone they aren’t doing it right.They should learn how.

Sounds like this isn’t an issue where you are at. Maybe over here it is an unwillingness to actually be the bad guy, and go through the effort to fire someone, when it is so much more convenient to run them off and let the next guy deal with it. There is also the total lack of support/respect from the office. Write someone a bad eval time after time and nothing happens. I don’t know the correct method out here to get rid of someone (I’m just a mate) but I don’t think many of the Captains know either. There does seem to be some positive change though, after a semi-recent incident with an infamous reef, it seems as if there is some actual focus on making sure we have qualified people standing watches.

[QUOTE=50thState;48040]Sounds like this isn’t an issue where you are at. Maybe over here it is an unwillingness to actually be the bad guy, and go through the effort to fire someone, when it is so much more convenient to run them off and let the next guy deal with it. There is also the total lack of support/respect from the office. Write someone a bad eval time after time and nothing happens. I don’t know the correct method out here to get rid of someone (I’m just a mate) but I don’t think many of the Captains know either. There does seem to be some positive change though, after a semi-recent incident with an infamous reef, it seems as if there is some actual focus on making sure we have qualified people standing watches.[/QUOTE]

It is an issue where I am. The company sometimes doesn’t support me and in fact they fight me sometimes. I know a lot of captains just put up with nonsense, getting more and more pissed off until they finally blow up and run the guy off or fire him. Thats’ going to blow back. I try to keep a level head and just follow the procedures. In the long run doing it right pays off.