Lakes Boatmen Approve Contract


September 2015


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It’s been a newsworthy summer at Great Lakes Towing. SIU boatmen employed by the company have approved a new, fiveyear agreement, and they’re also sailing aboard several recently acquired tugs.


The unanimously approved contract, which took effect July 15, calls for annual wage increases while maintaining Seafarers Pension Plan and Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan coverage, respectively, at their highest levels. It also boosts company contributions to the separate Seafarers Money Purchase Pension Plan.


The union’s negotiating committee consisted of Vice President Great Lakes and Inland Waters Tom Orzechowski, Assistant Vice President Bryan Powell, Port Agent Todd Brdak, Port Agent Chad Partridge and Safety Director Don Thornton.


“It’s a fair contract for the members and for the company,” said Brdak. “Both sides definitely negotiated in good faith, and the result is something we can all be proud of.”


Around the same time Seafarers were ratifying the contract, which currently covers 14 members, Great Lakes Towing announced the addition of four tugboats to its fleet. According to the company, the newly purchased tugs are the Michigan, Huron, Ontario and Erie.


“These four tugs will be immediately added to the fleet, and provide some new life and operational stability to our day-to-day business,” said Gregg Thauvette, the company’s vice president of operations.


He added, “The equipment and machinery on board, including the towing gear and firefighting equipment, are ideal for our operations across the Great Lakes, and will help us to continue to provide harbor towing services to our customers in more than 35 U.S. ports in all eight U.S. Great Lakes states.”


Additionally, Great Lakes Towing (headquartered in Cleveland) is reactivating the tugs Louisiana and Pennsylvania, both of which had been out of service for several years, and has plans to do the same with its boats Idaho and California in the near future.



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