Members Approve Contracts at Matson, Express Marine

 

August 2013

 

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New agreements boost wages, maintain benefits

 

The SIU continues to deliver gainful contracts despite the subpar economy.

 

The latest examples are new agreements at Matson Navigation and Express Marine, respectively. SIU members overwhelmingly ratified contracts with both companies from late June through July.

 

The four-year Matson agreement retroactively took effect July 1. It calls for annual wage increases as well as inclusion of the company’s planned new tonnage. It also stipulates increases to the Seafarers Money Purchase Pension Plan (SMPPP) and maintains health benefits at the top level available through the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan, Core Plus. The union also secured an additional pension increase of $250 per month for active mariners along with a 2 percent increase for current pensioners covered by the Pacific District Pension Plan.

 

SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker, in his report for the July membership meetings, noted that additional plusses in the Matson contract include “baggage reimbursement for first and second bags on required air travel, increased frequency of email exchange via satellite, new mattresses to be provided on request after any yard period, and Washington’s birthday swapped for Presidents’ Day in recognition of the holiday.”

 

SIU Vice President West Coast Nick Marrone, who negotiated the new Matson contract, stated, “There were no negatives for us. We have nothing but gains in this new agreement.”

 

The union represents steward department mariners aboard Matson ships.

 

Meanwhile, the new three-year contract with Express Marine calls for substantial wage increases, maintains pension and Core Plus benefits and increases company contributions to the SMPPP. It also features other gains including a boost in location-differential pay.

 

Negotiating for the union were Atlantic Coast Vice President Joseph Soresi, Philadelphia Port Agent Joe Baselice and members Riley Johnson, Parran Keane and Doug Covil.

 

“I think it’s a good contract,” Johnson said. “There are a lot of details in this one, and everybody did well, in my opinion.”

 

SIU crews at Express Marine help transport dry bulk and liquid cargoes, primarily along the East and Gulf Coasts. The SIU represents the captains, mates and ABs, while the other crew members are represented by the Seafarers-affiliated American Maritime Officers.

 

In other contract news, effective July 1, unlicensed SIU personnel aboard Sealift, Inc. vessels received a 3 percent increase to wages and wage-related items. Also, effective July 28, SIU crew members employed aboard Ready Reserve Force (RRF) vessels received a 3 percent increase to their wages, overtime pay and SMPPP company contribution amount.

 

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