Penn Maritime Crews Ratify 3-Year Pact

 

Contract with New Owner Kirby Boosts Wages, Maintains Benefits

 

August 2015

 

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SIU members at Penn Maritime have overwhelmingly ratified a new, three-year contract that features annual wage increases while maintaining medical and pension benefits. The agreement covers nearly 200 Seafarers.

 

Rank-and-file members and SIU officials who served on the union’s bargaining committee said that in addition to the contract details, one of the most significant aspects of the negotiations was that they happened with Penn’s new owners: Kirby Corporation.

 

“Not only were we able to maintain our bargaining rights, but we also protected the benefits of our vested members,” noted SIU Vice President Gulf Coast Dean Corgey. “We’ve laid the groundwork for a good working relationship with the company, and we definitely are allies in efforts to protect the Jones Act and maintain American maritime jobs.”

 

Corgey served on the SIU negotiating committee along with Vice President Atlantic Coast Joseph Soresi, Houston Port Agent Mike Russo, and members Teddy Crockett, John Harvard and Jeff Rydza.

 

Soresi said negotiations lasted approximately one week in Houston and they “resulted in a contract that is fair to both sides. It’s the nature of negotiations that both sides can’t get everything they want, but this is a good contract for everyone involved.”

 

Longtime Seafarer Crockett has served on numerous bargaining committees dating back to the early 1980s. He came away from the latest round of negotiations “feeling very positive,” he stated.

 

“I would say it was pretty successful – tough but fair,” Crockett said. “We got our wages that we wanted and kept our benefits in place. The company seems very pleased with the SIU members…. I think it’s one of the best contracts in the industry. They’ve given a little bit and we’ve given a little bit.”

 

He added that Corgey, Soresi and Russo “did a really good job.”

 

Rydza said, “We knew it would be different, but I think everything went better than expected…. The agreement was actually reached pretty quickly. We had an idea of what they wanted and they knew what we wanted. The best parts are we’re still union, it’s a fair contract and we kept our medical benefits. That was a big thing that everybody wanted.”

 

Those medical benefits are Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan Core-Plus, which is the top level available for SIU members. The Penn crews also secured enhanced longevity pay and improvements to the company’s 401(k) plan. They maintained benefits both in the Seafarers Pension Plan and the separate Seafarers Money Purchase Pension Plan.

 

Penn Maritime normally operates up to 15 tugboats and barges, primarily moving asphalt in the Gulf region.

 

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