Union’s Great Lakes Crews Welcome New Contracts, Additional Tonnage


June 2012


Back to Issue

It’s been a busy couple of months on the Great Lakes, with a new ATB coming under SIU contract creating additional jobs for the membership, and officials negotiating several contracts that feature significant gains. Led by SIU Vice President Great Lakes and Inland Waters Tom Orzechowski, SIU officials and rank-and-file members took to the negotiating tables to work out agreements with a number of companies that include wage increases, continued benefits funding, and maintaining of upgrading opportunities.


SIU members at the Erie Sand and Gravel Company based out of Erie, Pa., have a new three-year agreement (it started April 1) providing for wage increases and a vacation pay increase. In addition, health benefits for SIU members and their families are maintained at their current levels. SIU members who choose to utilize the resources and opportunities at the union-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training in Piney Point, Md. will have the ability to do so. The SIU also was able to gain company contributions to the Seafarers Money Purchase Pension Plan. This particular negotiating committee was composed of Orzechowski, Port Agent Todd Brdak, and SIU Representative Monte Burgett. Seafarers at the company work aboard the dredge M/V St. John on Lake Erie.


The SIU also completed and ratified an agreement with Material Service Corporation aboard their harbor boats based in Morris, Ill. The five-year agreement, which is effective from February 28, 2012 through February 28, 2017, features wage increases and maintains current health and pension benefits. The SIU negotiating committee established a floating holiday for bargaining unit members. This committee consisted of Orzechowski, Brdak, and Joliet Port Agent Chad Partridge.


The line boats division of the Material Service Corporation also negotiated an agreement with the SIU. That division also received wage increases every year of the five-year agreement (which went into effect January 1, 2012 and maintained their health and pension benefits as well. The SIU negotiating committee also consisted of Orzechowski, Brdak, and Partridge.


In other good news for Seafarers on the Great Lakes, the SIU-contracted company American Steamship Company has entered into service a new articulated tug/barge operated by a new SIU-contracted company called Boland and Cornelius Incorporated. The agreement with Boland and Cornelius Incorporated, which was negotiated by Orzechowski and Brdak, features many of the benefits obtained at other union-contracted companies. The five-year pact, effective from March 1, 2012 through January 15, 2017, includes yearly wage increases, CorePlus health benefits, Seafarers Vacation Plan benefits, Seafarers Pension Plan benefits and Paul Hall Center benefits. In addition, members are also eligible to participate in the Seafarers 401(k) plan.


The M/V Ken Booth Sr. began servicing the Great Lakes in April and is designed to transport dry-bulk commodities that are procured through Jones Act trade. The vessel consists of the 10,700 horsepower tug Ken Booth Sr. and the Lakes Contender, which has a cargo capacity of 34,000 tons.



Share |