Union Seals Long-term Great Lakes Bulker Contract
The Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A.) and Interlake Steamship Company have successfully reached an agreement on a 12-year contract for 10 bulker vessels on the Great Lakes.
Rank and File Members Erik Wlazlo, Jon Hines, Rob Thomas and Kelsey MacDonald were in M.E.B.A. Headquarters to negotiate terms of the agreement. These members did a great job in assisting President Mike Jewell and M.E.B.A. Representative Greg Quintana in securing the defined benefit pension plan and locking in some of the largest shipboard wage increases the union has seen on a commercial contract in decades. “This is a surprisingly good contract considering the current economic conditions. We are very happy,” said Eric Walzlo. Increased Plans funding was also agreed to as well as wage reopeners every four years.
The 10 Interlake vessels employ M.E.B.A. mates, engineers and stewards (considered officers on the Great Lakes). Feedback from the Interlake fleet has been positive and they recognize and appreciate President Jewell’s efforts and negotiating ability. “This contract will exceed the expectations of most of the members,” said Rob Thomas. “I think that once people have read it they will be satisfied overall.”
Interlake and M.E.B.A. have enjoyed a solid relationship for years, which has benefited the union members and the company. Both organizations look forward to continuing a mutually prosperous relationship over the next 12 years.
The M.E.B.A., America’s oldest maritime labor union, supplies U.S. Coast Guard-licensed deck and engineering officers in both the U.S. domestic and international trades.