The union and the American Maritime Association, in accordance with a recently announced arbitration decision, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for implementing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, effective October 1, 2021.
The arbitrator’s decision was reported by the SIU HERE
A related policy for the hiring halls, union headquarters and Piney Point was announced HERE
The MOU spells out the following for vessels covered by the SIU standard freightship and tanker agreements:
- All crew joining a vessel, regardless of job status, (permanent, trip tour, rotary, or trip relief), on and after October 1, 2021 must provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccine.
- The following vaccines are acceptable.
Pfizer – both shots – second shot prior to joining
Moderna – both shots – second shot prior to joining
Johnson & Johnson – 1 shot – 2 weeks prior to joining
- Non-vaccinated crew on vessels, as of October 1, 2021, will be allowed to finish their current tours. However, should the Company make arrangements for them to be vaccinated in a U.S. port after October 1, 2021 and they refuse, the Company will call for their relief and when their replacement reports aboard, their employment will end.
- In the event of an emergency situation the Company and Union may agree to allow unvaccinated mariners to join a vessel, however all reasonable efforts will then be made to secure a vaccine for such mariners as soon as possible. Any such mariners will need to observe all of the COVID-19 safety protocols that have been in place during this pandemic, to include but not be limited to, testing, social distancing, restriction of movement on the vessel, restriction to ship in port without payment of penalties, etc.
- Union representatives will try to assist crew members in locating vaccine sites and scheduling appointments if requested.
- The requirements set forth above for new crew joining a vessel on or after October 1, 2021 apply as well to permanent crew returning to vessels.
- Medical Exemptions: The Medical Director of the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan will work with the parties to develop medical exemption protocols.
- Religious Exemptions: Religious exemption requests will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Factors to be considered include prior religious objection to receiving other required vaccines.
- If any individual Association Company bargains with any other shipboard union and should agree to less stringent protocols and/or requirements or the payment of any compensation or bonus for agreeing to and subjecting oneself to a COVID-19 vaccine, the same shall be offered to crewmembers represented by the SIU on its ships. Any such agreement shall not be applicable to other Association companies
- To assist in the implementation of these conditions, fully vaccinated Union representatives will be allowed to board vessels to have discussions with the vessels’ crews. Any such Union representatives will abide by all COVID-19 protocols.
- All Association Companies will make reasonable efforts to try to have any vendors or other individuals who board any covered vessel fully vaccinated before boarding any such vessel. Both parties acknowledge that the Association’s companies do not control vendors or their employees.