Steady Progress Continues in CMPI Talks

CIVMARS Assist in Key Government Services Division Negotiations

Seafarers Log, May 2011

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The SIU Government Services Division, the U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC) and the Military Sealift Fleet Support Command (MSFSC) are continuing negotiations on the Civilian Marine Personnel Instruction (CMPI) 610. The negotiations started in January 2010 and most recently continued in early April in Washington, D.C.


The January 2011 negotiating session took place at SIU headquarters in Camp Springs, Md. Having finished the general provisions in the previous session, the parties turned their attention to the deck department work rules. The negotiating teams made great progress in January as several deck department work rules were streamlined and clarified. The parties also were able to satisfy their goal of drafting several concise work rules that apply equally to both coasts such as port security/safety watches, fleet support vessels and authorization of premium pay.


The February negotiating session was conducted at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) in Washington, D.C. The parties addressed the remaining deck department work rules for both coasts and drafted a number of comprehensive provisions that apply to all CIVMARS. The new provisions cover various premium pay topics such as “dirty work” and tank cleaning. The negotiating teams also revisited and updated some previously drafted provisions to ensure consistency and clarity with other new provisions.


The March session was devoted entirely to the premium pay provisions and work rules related to the engine department. The parties were assisted by two unlicensed CIVMARS who are both experienced members of the engine department: West Coast CIVMAR Floyd Fullilove and East Coast CIVMAR Greg Woods. These subject-matter experts provided support and valuable technical expertise throughout the week.


Union negotiators for the March session were SIU Government Services Division Assistant Vice President Chet Wheeler, SIU Counsel Deborah Kleinberg and SIU Associate Counsel Jon Madden.


Among the topics discussed and negotiated during the March session were movement of ships’ stores as it relates to the engine department, welding and lathe work, engine department painting, installing or removing equipment, sanitary work while on watch, and refrigeration engineers. The parties also revised previous general provisions to add language applicable to engine department personnel.


Fullilove described his participation at the negotiations as “eye-opening.” He said that attendance at the negotiations provided him with an education about the negotiation process and the large amount of work that goes into this type of bargaining project.


He added, “Seeing the amount of passion that the union officials showed at the meetings to make sure the interests the unlicensed CIVMARS were protected inspired me to get more involved with the union, and to be better-educated about shipboard conditions and CIVMAR rights.”


Woods said he enjoyed his time at SIU headquarters and that working at the negotiations was very informative. He noted that the interest-based bargaining process was a helpful and effective method to ensure that “everyone in the room negotiated from an equal basis.”

Woods said he felt comfortable “speaking up” about the issues which were discussed at the table. He further stated that he learned in these negotiations and in other areas the union fights hard to make sure that CIVMARS get what they deserve under the work rules and in other aspects of their careers as MSC employees. He is interested in learning more about the union’s work and passing along what he has learned to other CIVMARS.


Wheeler and Kleinberg agreed that the union and all engine department CIVMARS benefited greatly from the presence and contributions of Fullilove and Woods. The members’ expertise was extremely helpful to the negotiation process, they stated, and the mariners effectively represented the interests and concerns about the engine room working conditions. Their input made it easier for negotiators to understand the demands on the unlicensed CIVMARS aboard vessels throughout MSC’s fleet and develop premium pay work rules which will be more easily and effectively used on all ships, Wheeler and Kleinberg said.


The April meeting conducted from April 11-14 focused on the supply department. A full article regarding the April session will appear in a future issue of the LOG.


As previously reported, these negotiations are intended to ensure that the new CMPI 610 will be as clearly written as possible and, as a result, will be applied consistently on all vessels throughout the fleet. Along with uniformity and clarity in the revised document, the union is focused on ensuring that as work rules are modified, the overtime and penalty wages of CIVMARS are protected to the greatest possible extent. All consensus agreements will be reviewed at the end of the negotiations to determine if, as a result of any changes, CIVMARS have experienced more than a minor negative impact. The rules will also be reviewed to ensure that CIVMARS have not experienced an unintended gain.


The parties have also agreed to conduct an economic modeling after the new CMPI 610 has been completed to make sure that MSC meets its goal of staying within or very close to its current premium pay budget and to ensure that CIVMARS will not experience a significant change in their current rate of premium pay compensation.

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