Where Are The Unions?

I must agree with John and call bullshit when I see it but I’m also concerned by what I don’t see.

WTF happened to AMO during the trial? Did I miss their testimony? Did I somehow overlook their lawyers questions? Did they even defend their membership at trial?

And what about the other unions? I haven’t heard one peep out of them about ACP or any of the other bullshit going on in this trial.

The el faro matters. Any idiot can see that bad decisions the commandant makes today will kill their members tomorrow so why aren’t they screaming and jumping.

Why is John the only one with the balls to publicly call bullshit on this shit show?


Imagine that you had a watch dog but you strongly believed that watch dogs were worthless and a waste of time and money. So you starved the dog and every time it barked you gave it a good kick.

So one someone breaks into the house, dog is too weak and emaciated to do anything. Conclusion - watch dogs are worthless, proves you point

There’s been an on-going effort to destroy unions since about 1980, they’ve now been weaken to the point where they have lost almost all value, which of course proves the point of the people who wish to see unions destroyed.

Once unions are destroyed and government shrunk to the size it can be drown in a bathtub workers will be truly free. At least so we’re told.


I agree that there should be a meaningful, but not overbearing, role for effective unions in the American labor market.

I think that union officials became so arrogant, corrupt, and self-serving that the unions mostly self-destructed. To a large extent, the unions have also cannibalized each other in a race to the bottom.

MEBAs pathetic failure to spend a few pennies to aggressively represent its members and pledges at tiny TAL is a prime example of how worthless unions have become. Even worse was the don’t give a damn attitude of their union “brothers” posting here.


I think that corporate officials have become so arrogant, corrupt and self serving they are on the verge of self destructing. Their bribes to politicians dwarf those of the few remaining unions in the USA. Corporations have cannibalized each other in a race to monopoly which is costing everyone. The corruption existing in most governments in the world is not from unions. There is no balance in the equation any more. Unions which at least tried to represent workers lost, the champions of corporatism won.

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It may be too weak to fight but why can’t it bark?

Well, in my analogy the dog won’t bark because it doesn’t want to get kicked.

In reality, I don’t know what the unions are doing in this particular case. I know they do lobbying work.

Our system is fat democracy, not much an individual can do.

Also maritime unions are a good source for expertise, especially if you want a non-company viewpoint .

“Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I shall move the world” -Archimedes

Social Media is the most powerful lever in 2018 and with over half a million people in our industry reading gCaptain every month I’d say it’s a pretty sturdy platform on which to stand. We also have a few levers of our own which we can use to push our articles out to larger media outlets. Yet gCaptain is mostly ineffective. Why?

For a few reasons:

  1. The day-to-day running of gCaptain leaves little time to write myself.
  2. Nothing I write will be as powerful as what you (or a union rep who asks to be published on gCaptain) write. This is for the simple fact that no one likes (or listens much too) someone who toots his own horn. If you write for gCaptain I can use my personal influence to tell people far and wide how brilliant your thoughts and ideas are… but I can’t say the same for article I write myself.
  3. It is exceedingly difficult to get others to step onto the platform. We get a flood of private comments each day but very few requests for us to publish those comments publicly.
  4. Articles need to be written a certain way to spurn action. Finding (and/or mentoring) an author who “gets it” has proven difficult.
  5. It takes time and focus. Many of those who do write for us have dozens of things they want to write about and fix. Few are willing to spend months on a single topic.
  6. The best writers all come to us. We can certainly recruit writers and commission articles but it’s never as effective as those written by someone who really has something to say and keeps bugging me to help them say it.

So I think you are wrong. There is much an individual can do to effect change within our industry. We have built the platform to do so and can provide the lever to boot… we just need to find the right person enough to pull it.

And believe me… no one’s more excited to see the lever finally be pulled than me. The question is… where can we find someone with the ability to write effectively, self-confidence and the bravery to pull it?

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I don’t know what they are doing either. And that’s the problem. Lobbying certainly has it’s place but it is very expensive and only of use when in the hands of a sniper.

Publishing to a large audience however, is free (hell, we’ll even pay them to publish with us) and is more akin to a large gatling gun.

Both have their place in effecting change but their is a lot more leverage in the written word than what is whispered behind closed doors.

What do George Washington, Donald Trump, Nixon, Barack Obama, Teddy Roosevelt, JFK, Churchill, Wilson and countless others have in common? They all were popular columnists turned bestselling authors before they became famous. And they were all individuals. Words gave Washington power as they give Trump power today because words matter.

But words are meaningless if no one reads them. In a previous post your mentioned Nippin Anand and I agree his work is brilliant. But who reads it? You, me and maybe 100 other people. How can that even begin to compare with the hundreds of thousands who read gCaptain?? Why has he never asked to be published on gCaptain? I don’t know. All I know is why we don’t ask him… because when we ask it becomes an obligation rather than what it needs to be which is a passion for words and the power they hold.

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Money is certainly a factor. All the watchdogs are underfunded and struggling to pay for food. The unions, the uscg and the maritime media (gCaptain included) are run on very tight budgets. While the opposition (whether it be a big corporation or China) seem to have lots of money to pour into adding lots layers of complexity and confusion which the watchdogs simply don’ t have the resources to sort out.

My dream is to hire a small team of investigative journalists who dig into the problems you guys expose on this forum and make those who cause us harm publicly stand before the truth. The reality is we are all struggling to pay the diminished staff we currently have.


…there should be a meaningful, but not overbearing, role for effective unions in the American labor market.

The US, hell the whole west, labor market is being flooded with cheap, third world labor. Look at what H1-B visas are doing to the tech industry on the West Coast.

Labor unions are complicit in short changing their older, Western born members for dues to lobby the same politicians who will legislate policy to bring in more cheap, third world labor who are less likely to question authority (god knows they don’t in their own countries), vote for the party and politicians that brought them to the West, and when market rates go down and the unions adjust pay lower, these people hop on the union jobs and pay dues! Those dues going to lobby the politicians who brought them in so their distant third cousin, eight times removed can come behind them to join their union and pay dues!

This has created a vicious cycle the native born populations in the West are being displaced, with it being exacerbated in the already underserved and underperforming communities in our back yards.

This is Ted Kennedy’s and LBJ’s fault for bringing forth the 1965 immigration reform act.


I’ve said it for years and I’ll say it again. There are too many unions in our industry and that makes them weak. They don’t care about their “brothers” they care about undercutting other unions to get work. They all put on a front saying how they’re there for you but when they’re needed, they hide and say stop trying to cause trouble.


One would think that if what the 36th president of the USA and a junior senator did 53 years ago was such an egregious error the citizens would have made sure they elected folks to correct that atrocity. We are now on the 45th president and there have been over a dozen senate elections since then and 24 years of congressional elections.


Not specifically the 1965 immigration reform act, but the damage it has caused was a central platform of then candidate Trump.

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What does immigration have to do with the decline of maritime unions? Nothing?


Journalists being free to conduct any meaningful investigation are just about an extinct species.

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Goes all the way back to 1998.

The SIU, I believe the biggest maritime union out there, gives regularly to the party that wants to open our borders.

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I am really surprised by how small the SIU political donations have been. They would have to spend at least 10 times that much to even get noticed. That’s not enough to buy any political influence.

I wonder if MEBAs donations are so small. Back in the 70’s it was claimed the MEBA was the 2nd largest lobby after the NRA.

You mean there are Institutionalized corruption on a grand scale in Washington DC??

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And which party might that be? If you say Democrats, I’d like to remind you that it was Reagan who gave a mass amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants in 1986. Not wanting an expensive albatross of a border wall (that we, not Mexico, will pay for) should not be conflated with a desire to open our borders- whatever that means. All the Democrats I’ve heard speak on the subject think beefed up electronic surveillance, drones, personnel, etc would be far more effective at controlling border crossings, and cost less. Who is calling for existing border controls to be removed?

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otherwise known as corporate campaign contributions (read Citizens United vs. FEC here)

nothing but nothing has solidified the power of the corporations to seize control of Congressional legislation and the implementation or enforcement of laws by the Federal government than this SCOTUS ruling in 2010. While all associations are protected by the ruling it doesn’t take a genius to realize that not for profits or labor unions can’t hold a candle to the money available by America’s corporate elites!