Unions are a sham

Unions just want your hard earned money to keep the union leaders employed.
Sure, they offer very good job opportunities…but the new jobs are thru “back door shipping” (check with NCL Oak MEBA and Liberty Maritime, NY Patrollma) who hire back door…look it up. It is the only way you can make a career as a deck officer, on big ships, in the US Maritime industry. Don’t be fooled by the front door, take your money , approach.
I’m a bi-product of the putting in my best as a union officer, with stellar recommendations/evals, and historic accomplishments. all suddenly dissolved by the union HQ due to my age!! Yes, the unions can change your employment status by the stroke of a pen. MEBA-MMP are bad news for guys like me.

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Why not take a breath slow down and tell us which union you’ve had an issue with, I’ll guess either MMP or AMO, but tell us more, like how long you were a member before you came to this conclusion.

The companies he mentioned have MEBA mates on them. It looks like his beef is with the MEBA and MM&P as he said unions.

Is this something akin to discovering the NW passage or more like closing down every bar within a 4 block radius in a single night?


Somewhere in a personnel file In some interview notes there may read the term ‘delusions of grandeur’. May have something to do with promotability.


No one wants to make or create a " historical event" here I am sure. Just a fair wage and working conditions. You are rather vague about your distaste for whatever event occurred on your behalf. It perhaps won’t change my mind regarding Unions, but a credible explanation what you are experiencing may get an ear. I am a bit deaf for now.


I’m sure all the Bouchard employees are saying the same thing.


I have belonged to two unions.

At one Union, our business agent was flat out paid off by the employer to screw us. I never saw a dime of the OT and vacation pay specified in the contract. The union VP did nothing. The NLRB told me that as Master, I was “management” and not entitled to union or NLRB protection.

The other union was basically honest, but a terrible negotiator. The wages were lower than typical non-union, no OT for Masters, etc, etc. Terrible contract.

I occasionally do short term temp work at a union company (the company is allowed to hire whoever it wants, but employees are supposed to join the union after 200 hours). The hourly rate is good and the OT is great, but the call outs are short with gaps in between which result in the weekly or monthly income being only about the same as driving for Uber. Many of the guys who supposedly work “full time” for the company do not make much on a monthly basis either.

My impression is that the deep sea unions, except AMO, are real unions that represent their members and have jobs with good pay, but only offer consistent work to guys with seniority.

My impression is that the “Inland Division” unions are mostly, but not always, worthless scams with low wages. Seniority doesn’t seem to mean anything when employer are free to hire non union guys.

Could just be me, but the monthly newsletters with the union’s multiple Presidents, VP’s, Executive VP’s, Chairman’s, Managers, Agents, Honcho’s, Jeffe’s and all their subordinates at seemingly never ending black-tie galas congratulating each other on their various Mariner of the Year, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Big Swinging Dick Award, etc gets to be a little bit annoying after a while and suggests impropriety and top heaviness…


Tugsailor, it appears we have had very similar experiences with union and non-union. I will pick union over non. Agree the mid-stream guys have not benefitted as much, A hard market to crack for obvious reasons. but they have not gone backwards with representation. There is a reason those particular companies have a bit of indigestion with the unions. Do the unions pat themself on the back? I won’t contest that. The biggest lobby in Capitol Hill we have is from the unions The companies they work for may be fine for now. Don’t see any of them throwing a bit of cash towards the “Hill” to help their cause. Who is showing up to represent you, as a mariner in Jones Act trade. Grow a little older and look at your bottom line .Guaranteed pension and medical is a big thing. By the way, I am not a recruiter for AMO, but was treated quite well. I cannot speak for the other unions other than SIU and IBU,which gave me a shot as a very young fellow.

/Waits for @tugsailor to blow a C.Captain level fit about being called a “young 'un.” :popcorn: :popcorn:

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Unions Pensions are a big advantage for guys who have steady union jobs (same union) for 20 or 30 years. Too late for me to think about that.

Union Insurance may, or may not, be a big advantage depending on various other factors. Insurance isn’t much of an issue for me.

I don’t really see the point of a union when the employer is free to hire non-union guys who can simply join up and jump ahead of the union guys. Not much point in a union if they don’t negotiate for top money. From what I can see, the Inland unions do a terrible job of handling “beefs.”

Companies come and go, contracts change, sometimes they get a cheaper union, or start up non-union divisions.

A good union job at a good union company can be great, but there are too many bad union jobs at bad companies for too little money.


I think unions are great in expanding industries when labor is in short supply in comparison to number of jobs. The problem is when the good times are over and there is a need to scale back all the milk and honey perks and benefits that everyone has gotten used to. …who will be the president to do that and ensure his defeat in the next election cycle? Doesn’t happen. And so, it becomes a game of musical chairs where everyone is scrambling to extract the max out of the benefit plans before the music stops.

Bottom line is that a union starts out for the good of the membership but once it reaches a certain size, it exists for the purpose of perpetuating its own existence. Making that problem worse is that those in charge of a union are typically senior members (close to retirement) whose own interest (ensuring their cut of that milk and honey isn’t in danger) can outweigh what’s in the long term best interests of the union membership.

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Some unions like the Longshoremen do an unbelievable job. They get their members at least twice what they are worth. They crew a 5 man job with 17 men. It’s ridiculous.

The maritime unions, with the exception of MEBA and MMP deep sea, are a pathetic joke. Low pay, small crews, and sometimes less money than non-union jobs.


The “Newer” leadership at AMO took their pension funding levels from “Endangered” status to 85% funded from poor prior leadership. No small feat. I would ask if UAW, ILA ,or any of the major Airlines have had success in that category. I just got the update from the AMO plans department as required by the Feds to verify their progress. I can’t speak for the other Maritime unions or their practices., or where they are regarding funding status. I would have had to work 17 more years in the non-union status I was in and recieve about half the pension the company was offering and no medical. Since we voted in AMO, my medical and pension has not changed since I retired. I also see them lobbying on the members/owners behalf in congress. I don’t consider AMO a joke. Again , not a salesman for AMO, but they did right by me.

Always wondered why other trade’s unions drive crewing and wages up for their membership, while sailors unions seemingly drive crewing and wages down for the company brass?


Don’t know, do you have some examples?

In general union bargaining power is linked to union density.

Easy to do when there are not 5000 unemployed experienced longshoremen desperate for work who could care less about scabbing a job because they need to feed a family.

There are no state or federal schools pumping out baby longshoremen every year.


I never worked under a union contract that I thought was a better deal then what I could have worked out for myself. The contracts were made for the lowest common denominator employees or average employees at best. Also, it didn’t take me long to figure out the people negotiating for me might not be the sharpest tools in the shed. Even worse, I thought some might even be getting kicked backs from the company to keep the wages low. For me, I felt like working with a union was similar to buying a home in a neighborhood that had an expensive HOA that charges me to tell me how to take care of my home then giving them the authorization to negotiate my mortgage payments & car purchases from a local car dealer where their familymembers work.

But we all do what we have to to bring home the bacon. A job is a job.



Among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $1,095 in 2019, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $892