Liberty Maritime Changes Union Affiliation

Friday, October 07, 2011

MEBA accuses operator of creating labor dispute and delaying important cargoes. AMO enters into new collective bargaining agreement with Liberty.

 

On Monday, Liberty Maritime Corporation announced that it had entered into a new collective bargaining agreement with the American Maritime Officers (AMO) union under which the AMO will provide U.S. citizen licensed deck officers and engineers to Liberty Maritime for the operation of five U.S.-flag dry bulk carriers effective October 1, 2011. Previously subject to a collective bargaining agreement with Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, District No. 1-PCD (MEBA), that contract expired on September 30, 2011. According to a prepared Liberty statement, MEBA will continue to provide deck officers and engineers on the three U.S. flag Pure Car/Truck Carrier vessels (PCTCs) operated by Liberty pursuant to a separate collective bargaining agreement between Liberty Maritime and the MEBA. But, the change in manning agreements to the bulk vessels leaves Liberty at odds with MEBA, which claims that Liberty did not act in good faith.

 

Philip Shapiro, President and CEO of Liberty Maritime, said in a prepared statement, “We worked many months with the MEBA to try to reach a new agreement, and as late as three days before the prior agreement was due to expire, the MEBA called to say the Union was not interested in our proposal. Although we are saddened that we could not work out a mutually beneficial arrangement with the MEBA, we remain proud of our long and productive relationship with the Union and salute the professionalism of its members.”

 

MEBA, however, countered with their version of what happened. “M.E.B.A. listened to Liberty and took all their economic and government affairs arguments into consideration. We agreed that now is not the time for a labor dispute and accepted Liberty’s final economic proposal,” said M.E.B.A. President Mike Jewell from the picket line in Louisiana. "When we conveyed this acceptance to Liberty the silence on the other end of the phone from CEO Philip Shapiro was deafening. We later learned that Liberty had signed a contract with the AMO.”

 

Thomas Keenan, Executive Vice President of Marine Operations for Liberty, echoed Shapiro’s comments, adding, “Contrary to what MEBA has publicly asserted, we offered increases in wages and in contributions to MEBA’s defined contribution retirement plan in exchange for freezing their defined benefit retirement plan. We remain convinced that their members would have been better off under our proposal than the Union’s proposal. For the record, at no time has Liberty Maritime ever sought to “lock out” MEBA members. We proposed pay increases, but in the end, we did not reach agreement because we simply could not bridge our economic and other differences prior to the expiration of the existing contract.” Keenan added that the transition to AMO union affiliation and ship’s officers has been smooth. Nevertheless, a MEBA press release claims that some of the ships were experiencing problems.

 

MEBA officials, in an e-mailed release, told Marinelink this week that “Members of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A.) union began peacefully protesting on Saturday, October 1 at 12:01 a.m. after Liberty locked them out. Since the company’s inception, M.E.B.A. engineers and deck officers have operated Liberty’s vessels and transported humanitarian and important cargo to third world countries in need of assistance.”

 

MEBA further contends that the dispute started over contract negotiations that began several months ago. Beyond this, says MEBA’s prepared statement, “Despite months of negotiations and the fact that the MEBA agreed in principle to the terms of a new contract, Liberty signed a collective bargaining agreement with the American Maritime Officers (AMO) union. As soon as the M.E.B.A. employees were locked out from the ships, picket lines were set-up at the ports of Galveston and Beaumont in Texas and New Orleans, LA, where the Liberty bulk cargo carriers were docked. Members of the AMO crossed the picket line and boarded the ships that M.E.B.A. members had exclusively manned for 23 years.”

 

Mr. William G. Miossi, labor counsel to Liberty Maritime, sees it differently. “The MEBA represented officers are supervisors and, as such, they are not covered by the National Labor Relations Act. Although Liberty Maritime had no legal obligation to bargain with this Union upon expiration of their contract, we nevertheless negotiated with the MEBA in a sincere effort to reach new terms.” He continued, “It is our view that the MEBA’s picketing of Liberty Maritime operated vessels and other actions violate federal labor law.” Meanwhile, Liberty says that they have filed appropriate Unfair Labor Practice Charges against the MEBA with the National Labor Relations Board.

 

For its part, MEBA officials contend that their officers have for years worked aboard Liberty vessels supporting humanitarian efforts and U.S. economic and national security goals by carrying important agriculture cargo. And, they allege that cargoes may now fall behind delivery schedules because the current crews had trouble starting the main engines on the ships docked in Louisiana and Texas. According to MEBA itself, there was no timetable for how long the picketing of Liberty’s ships would continue. In a prepared statement, they said, “…members in Texas and Louisiana are prepared to keep protesting in order to highlight this injustice.”

Maritime Reporter October 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

ESSA's Fleet Upgradation Environmental Driven

State-controlled Exportadora de Sal SA de CV of Mexico ("ESSA"), one of the world’s largest salt exporters with a 10-million-ton annual production, has strengthened

PSA Chairman Receives Belgium Award

On 27 November 2014, PSA Group Chairman Fock Siew Wah was conferred the national distinction ‘Commander of the Order of the Crown’ from His Majesty King Philippe of Belgium for his merit,

MSC Magnifica Completes Drydocking at Damen Shiprepair

After a very fast and successful 17-day drydocking the cruise ship MSC Magnifica left Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam (part of Damen Shiprepair & Conversion) for

Contracts

Rolls-Royce Bags £12 mi Order from Myklebusthaug Management

Rolls-Royce has won a £12 million order to provide design, integrated power and propulsion systems and equipment for a highly advanced multipurpose service vessel

Kleven Wins New Yacht Contract

Norwegian ship builder Kleven has secured a new contract for a high specification, 116-metre long Expedition Support Vessel. The order is placed by Mr Graeme Hart,

Diana Extends Containership Time Charters

Diana Containerships Inc. announced direct continuation of time charter agreements for m/v Cap Domingo and m/v Cap Doukato   Diana Containerships Inc., a global

Legal

Findland Fairway Due Law

Based on the Finland Ministry of Transport and Communication’s maritime strategy, the Finnish parliament has announced a final and lawful decision on the new

MSC Magnifica Completes Drydocking at Damen Shiprepair

After a very fast and successful 17-day drydocking the cruise ship MSC Magnifica left Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam (part of Damen Shiprepair & Conversion) for

Support for Sulphur Regulation Enforcement Gathers Momentum

Trident Alliance, the shipping industry initiative for robust enforcement of maritime sulphur regulations, broadens its platform as some of Germany’s and Denmark’s

Finance

Findland Fairway Due Law

Based on the Finland Ministry of Transport and Communication’s maritime strategy, the Finnish parliament has announced a final and lawful decision on the new

New Company Takes Over OW Tanker

OW Tanker, a unit of bankrupt OW Bunker and owner of its marine fuel supply ships, has been taken over by a newly-created company, the fleet manager told Reuters on Wednesday.

WRRDA: Clearing the Channel for P3 Projects

A Creative Combination for Financing Inland Waterways Infrastructure Earlier this year, the U.S. maritime industry in general, and the inland waterways industry in particular,

News

USCG Medevacs Man From Sailboat off NC Coast

The Coast Guard medevaced an injured 62-year-old man from his sailboat Thursday approximately 100 miles east of Kill Devil Hills. Watchstanders at the Fifth

Findland Fairway Due Law

Based on the Finland Ministry of Transport and Communication’s maritime strategy, the Finnish parliament has announced a final and lawful decision on the new

ESSA's Fleet Upgradation Environmental Driven

State-controlled Exportadora de Sal SA de CV of Mexico ("ESSA"), one of the world’s largest salt exporters with a 10-million-ton annual production, has strengthened

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1942 sec (5 req/sec)