CMPI 610 Negotiations Conclude

 

Unions, MSC Await SECNAV Approval; Instruction Roll-Out Planned

 

September 2012

 

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This article is part of a series describing the Civilian Marine Personnel Instruction (CMPI) 610 negotiations covering the hours of work and premium pay Instruction for CIVMARS working aboard Military Sealift Command (MSC) vessels. As noted previously, this Instruction does not impact CIVMAR base wages. The Instruction covers only what CIVMARS earn when working during overtime, premium and penalty time aboard MSC vessels.

 

The SIU and MSC recently completed negotiations over CMPI 610. The completion of negotiations marks the culmination of a roughly 24-month process in which the two parties engaged in a series of negotiating sessions using the interest-based bargaining (IBB) method. Also participating in these negotiations were unlicensed CIVMARS who served as subject matter experts. CIVMARS attended negotiations in person and also participated in the talks via conference call and written surveys. CIVMAR comments and suggestions throughout the negotiation process were extremely helpful, bringing the most up-to-date shipboard experience to the attention of the negotiators, and their comments helped to frame the new work rules.

 

Concurrent negotiations between MSC, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) and the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P), the unions representing the agency’s licensed CIVMARS, also have concluded.

 

MSC Commander Rear Admiral Mark Buzby delivered the completed Instruction to the Office of Civilian Human Resources (OCHR) who must review and approve the document for the Secretary of the Navy. The parties hope for a swift approval process in order to meet an October implementation date.

 

As the negotiations concluded, the parties conducted a thorough financial analysis to ensure, as accurately as possible, that the financial negotiation goals noted below would be met. Much earlier, at the start of negotiations, the parties adopted detailed ground rules and goals to guide them through the difficult and complicated bargaining and implementation process.

 

Additionally, as this is the first time in a quarter century that the entire Instruction has been revised, certain protections were agreed to and will go into effect as the Instruction is implemented. Both of these topics are discussed in greater detail below.

 

Negotiation Goals

 

The goals of the negotiations were to:

 

1. Ensure that CIVMARS would be fairly compensated by the new work rules;

 

2. Ensure that the changes would be cost-neutral for MSC. This means that MSC would not have to pay much more money to implement the rule changes or save significant amounts of money by cutting pay through work rule changes;

 

3. Develop work rules that would be applied fairly and consistently on every vessel;

 

4. Streamline the Instruction, to delete repetitive, confusing and inconsistent language that was found throughout the previous Instruction.

 

5. Develop work rules covering unlicensed CIVMARS which could be applied whenever possible to both coasts; and

 

6. Develop a document that is easy to read and allows CIVMARS to find the information they are looking for quickly and efficiently.

 

Program Protections

 

The protections built into the implementation of the new CMPI 610 include reviewing CIVMAR feedback and other shipboard documents as well as evaluating payrolls in a timely manner to ensure that CIVMAR wages have not been impacted significantly – in a negative or positive way, or in a way that was not anticipated by the parties. The SIU and MSC have also agreed to meet yearly to review the financial impact of the rules for the next five years.

 

As in the previous CMPI 610 there is a mechanism to dispute or grieve a situation where a CIVMAR believes he or she has not been paid accurately for the overtime or premium pay work performed.

 

There will also be a process to advise the union and the agency if a CIVMAR believes that a specific work rule has resulted in significant pay loss. Once this is brought to the attention of the union and MSC, the parties will reconvene to determine whether the new rule creating the impact needs to be revised.

 

The new rules will have to be implemented for several months before CIVMARS, the SIU and MSC will be able to determine whether there is a significant impact one way or the other. This is because premium pay varies from vessel to vessel. Additionally, while a few of the old rules which have been eliminated  may diminish pay under certain circumstances, this change may  be offset by new rules which will now provide pay to CIVMARS for previously uncompensated work. CIVMAR comments and financial data will help the parties with this evaluation.  

 

Layout and Organization of New CMPI 610

 

While the new CMPI 610 still contains a majority of the rules in the old Instruction, overall the newly negotiated Instruction is noticeably shorter. CIVMARS will find that the language is much more concise compared to the previous Instruction.

 

The new CMPI 610 is user-friendly and logically organized. It is designed to enable the reader to quickly and definitively answer practically any question regarding a CIVMAR’s hours of work and premium pay.

 

The new CMPI 610 is also organized in a way that is entirely different from the previous Instruction. The new CMPI 610 is now organized by type of work or work event rather than by department and sailing coast. While it may take some time for CIVMARS to adjust to the new format, the document itself is more cohesive and understandable.

 

For example, one major section deals with premium pay associated with moving cargo. This section covers scenarios when any CIVMAR, regardless of department, handles or moves any type of item deemed to be cargo. In the previous document, pay provisions regarding cargo were located in several different sections. This required a review of multiple pages and referring to several sections to analyze the cargo work rules.

 

Many CIVMARS advised negotiators that the language could be confusing and contradictory. In response to those concerns, negotiators included all language pertaining to a specific rule or evolution of work into a specific section. The document now contains a detailed, cross-referenced index which will help CIVMARS quickly locate any CMPI 610-related information they need.

 

CMPI 610 Roll-Out and Training

 

While negotiations are complete, work must be done to ensure a successful implementation period. As with any new program, there will be many questions. It is expected that full implementation of the Instruction will commence on Oct. 7, 2012 at which time the new provisions will take effect. While the parties wait for final approval, the SIU and MSC have begun planning the roll-out training sessions and writing the educational materials for the new Instruction.

 

Some CMPI 610 negotiators will be will be visiting ships and the East and West Coast CIVMAR Support Units (CSUs) to educate the fleet about the changes and to answer questions. The parties are in the process of producing a DVD which explains the changes and highlights the important aspects of the new CMPI. These DVDs will be made available to all vessels and each CSU.

 

Each CIVMAR will have available on a CD and the ship’s LAN, a copy of the new Instruction and a user guide. The negotiators have also prepared a document which provides a side-by-side comparison of the new and old Instructions.

 

Other documents describing the new Instruction will also be available, including a “frequently asked questions” document which will be updated as the Instruction is implemented to include the questions which arrive from the fleet. The SIU will continue to publish articles in the LOG to keep MSC CIVMARS updated on the progress of the CMPI 610 implementation.

 

With the help of unlicensed CIVMARS, this Instruction was negotiated by the SIU with all CIVMARS in mind. In these talks, all participants were on equal footing. Negotiations were transparent and hard-fought. The IBB process required negotiators to reach a consensus on every line and section in this Instruction.

 

To make implementation of the new Instruction as successful as possible, the SIU asks all CIVMARS to view the DVD and all other training materials as they become available, and be sure to contact the main e-mail address (provided in your training materials) as well as SIU representatives with questions or concerns.

 

Lastly, the SIU encourages each CIVMAR to read the Instruction carefully, learn its provisions and refer to it often to ensure you are paid fairly and accurately for work done during overtime, premium and penalty pay periods aboard your vessels.

 

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