SIU boatmen working for Harley Marine New York have ratified a four-yearcontract that calls for annual wage increases and other gains.
The new agreement covers nearly 50 Seafarers who sail aboard four of thecompany’s tugboats and seven barges primarily involved in bunkering operationsin the northeast.
Negotiating on behalf of the SIU were Vice President Atlantic Coast JosephSoresi, 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 negotiatingprocess,” von Siegel stated. “The end result was a fair and equitable contractfor the membership.”
In addition to yearly wage increases, contract highlights include gains intransportation reimbursement, sick leave and Seafarers Money Purchase PensionPlan (SMPPP) benefits. The pact also maintains benefits under the SeafarersPension Plan (completely separate from the SMPPP); other contractual languagewas changed to benefit Seafarers.
“Overall, it’s not a bad contract,” Santillo stated. “It’s more money than wewere making, and you can’t argue with that.”
He said one of the agreement’s highlights is the increased companycontribution to the SMPPP, and added that the SIU bargaining team conducteditself well throughout the negotiations.
“I think that the union handled itself as professionally as possible and didthe 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 ofthe process “was that everyone had an opinion and was heard. A lot of creditgoes to Mark (von Siegel) for helping make sure everyone’s voice was heard andeveryone had a chance for meaningful input.”
He acknowledged there were parts of the negotiating process that wereeye-opening.
“I see the other side of it, and it could be frustrating at times,” Grantstated. “But I’d like to do it again.”