SIU boatmen working for Harley Marine New York have ratified a four-year contract that calls for annual wage increases and other gains.
The new agreement covers nearly 50 Seafarers who sail aboard four of the company’s tugboats and seven barges primarily involved in bunkering operations in the northeast.
Negotiating on behalf of the SIU were Vice President Atlantic Coast Joseph Soresi, Patrolman Mark von Siegel, and rank-and-file delegates Daniel Grant, Nicholas Santillo and Saud Hashmi.
“The bargaining committee did an excellent job throughout the negotiating process,” von Siegel stated. “The end result was a fair and equitable contract for the membership.”
In addition to yearly wage increases, contract highlights include gains in transportation reimbursement, sick leave and Seafarers Money Purchase Pension Plan (SMPPP) benefits. The pact also maintains benefits under the Seafarers Pension Plan (completely separate from the SMPPP); other contractual language was changed to benefit Seafarers.
“Overall, it’s not a bad contract,” Santillo stated. “It’s more money than we were making, and you can’t argue with that.”
He said one of the agreement’s highlights is the increased company contribution to the SMPPP, and added that the SIU bargaining team conducted itself well throughout the negotiations.
“I think that the union handled itself as professionally as possible and did the best it could,” Santillo said. “I think we got a hell of a job done.”
Grant said the new agreement largely met the membership’s expectations, though, as with any contract, not every goal was achieved.
A first-time member of the union’s bargaining team, he said a highlight of the process “was that everyone had an opinion and was heard. A lot of credit goes to Mark (von Siegel) for helping make sure everyone’s voice was heard and everyone had a chance for meaningful input.”
He acknowledged there were parts of the negotiating process that were eye-opening.
“I see the other side of it, and it could be frustrating at times,” Grant stated. “But I’d like to do it again.”