Seven Bosuns Complete Recertification

 

December 2011

 

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Seven SIU members recently completed the bosun recertification course at the union-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education, located in Piney Point, Md. The three-week class is considered the top curriculum available to deck-department Seafarers.

 

Receiving course-completion certificates at the November membership meeting in Piney Point were Gregorio Cudal, Mickey Earhart, Jeffery Eckhart, Rafael Franco, Hanapiah Ismail, Anecito Limboy and Randell Porter. In keeping with SIU tradition, each bosun took a turn at the podium and addressed fellow members, unlicensed apprentices and union officials.

 

Both in their respective speeches at the meeting and in written comments provided to the Seafarers LOG, the bosuns consistently stated that the recertification class will help them do an even better job aboard ship. They credited the school for its supportiveness; applauded the union for its successful efforts to fight for and protect members’ job security; and encouraged the apprentices to take advantage of the career opportunities available through the SIU and the Paul Hall Center’s Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship.

 

The course included sessions covering the Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention and various planned improvements to the school. The bosuns – each of whom had taken at least one class at the school in years past – at various times met with representatives from the union’s contracts, manpower, benefits plans, and communications departments, as well as with personnel from different departments at the school. They participated in meetings at the union’s headquarters building, located in Camp Springs, Md., and at the Maritime Trades Department offices in Washington, D.C. (the latter of which are housed at AFL-CIO headquarters). They also brushed up on computer and communications skills, and trained at the school’s small-arms range, among other activities.

 

Cudal signed on with the Seafarers in 1983. He said the class gave him “better knowledge about contracts and about how the union and school operate. I have a better understanding of our benefits and how to deal better with people on board the vessels.”

 

He added, “I highly recommend all union members come and upgrade at the school, because the more knowledge we acquire for the job, the better for us and the companies we will work for.”

 

Earhart, who joined the SIU in 1989, has upgraded a handful of times but said, “This time here has been the best of all. This has been a very good class – I learned a lot of new information and now feel I can answer questions better that I get asked every day.”

 

He described the SIU as “a big part of my family. It has been for 22 years and will be for a long time to come.”

 

Eckhart has been a Seafarer since 1977. He said he gained “a lot of information” about how the union, school and Seafarers Plans function, and he also appreciated revisiting the union’s history. Altogether, the lessons illuminated “how everything is tied to together to form the union. This will help me answer questions…. I got to meet a lot of nice people and instructors and really enjoyed my time here at the school.”

 

Franco, who joined the SIU in 1991, said the small-arms training proved quite valuable, and he also said all of the school’s instructors are “very knowledgeable. My experience here has been great…. The SIU has always been there for me. That’s why I will always be there for the SIU.”

 

Ismail came aboard as a Seafarer in 1984. He said the recertification course reinforced his belief that “the union is in good hands, and so is the school. I would like to thank our officials because without them, I don’t know where I would be. Thanks to the instructors at the school, too, for all that they do.”

 

Limboy, a member since 1993, said one of the course’s most interesting components involved detailed information about contract negotiations. He encouraged fellow mariners to upgrade at the school and added his thanks “to SIU President Mike Sacco, our other officers, and the school’s staff and instructors for everything they do.”

 

Porter joined the union in 1991. He, too, said that learning about contracts was helpful, as was gaining knowledge about the medical and pension plans.

 

“The information I received was very helpful to me, and now I can help someone else or at least point them in the right direction,” Porter noted. “My stay here was great, the education I got was very helpful, and the instructors were very knowledgeable. I say thank you to all of them.”

 

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