Seafarers Approve Penn Maritime Contract

July 2011

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Seafarers recently approved a new contract with Penn Maritime by a large margin. The contract, which is valid until 2015, maintains benefits for the mariners, boosts wages and features other gains. More than 100 SIU members are covered by the new agreement.

“I’m pleased with the negotiations and am very happy to have been a part of them,” said SIU Vice President Atlantic Coast Joseph Soresi, who led the SIU negotiating committee. “Everyone involved was cordial and worked very hard for a mutually beneficial contract. I believe that’s what we came up with.”

 

The contract maintains Core Plus health benefits, which is the premiere health care plan available through the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan. The agreement also guarantees pay raises over the next four years, as well as an increase in longevity pay for longtime employees. The pact also stipulates an increase in food and gear allowances, and calls for the addition of step-children to death-in-the-family considerations. In addition to Soresi, other members of the SIU delegation included Brooklyn hall Patrolman Mark von Siegel, Engineer Jeff Ryzda, Mate John Harvard, and AB Teddy Crockett. On the company side, Penn Maritime was represented by Jim Sweeney and Tom Elkowitz.


With the economic troubles facing the nation, and particularly working people, some entered the negotiations with a glass-half-empty mentality. However, due to strong leadership from the SIU and the consistently excellent work provided by the SIU members aboard Penn’s vessels, the negotiations resulted in welcome progress.

 

“I’ve been in the union for 31 years and this is the ninth contract I’ve negotiated,” said Crockett. “This one was different and it’s all due to the economy. This is an important contract. We were prepared for anything,but we ended up with some big gains.”

Crockett chocks up the beneficial contract to the hard work of the union’s officials, including Soresi and President Michael Sacco, as well as the support and hard work from others involved with the negotiations. The gains that the committee secured on behalf of their fellow mariners have the future looking a bit brighter for Crockett and other Penn Maritime workers.

“I feel good about the future,” said Crockett. “We’re in a bit of a quandary now, with the economy and the wars and all. Fortunately, we’ve got a great union. We’re faring a lot better than most these days. Everybody’s making some sacrifices, but we’ve got outstanding leadership. I can’t stress that enough.”

Penn Maritime operates 16 tugs and 18 doublehulled heated ocean tank barges. The company is the largest coastal transporter of heated asphalt products.

 

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