Rank-and-file SIU members recently approved three new contracts that boost wages while either maintaining or increasing benefits. The respective agreements cover Seafarers at Express Marine, Port City Marine Services, and the Crowley facility at Petty’s Island.
The Express Marine contract covers approximately 45 members who sail aboard the company’s tugboats. It’s a three-year agreement featuring annual wage raises, increased vacation and Seafarers Money Purchase Pension Plan (SMPPP) benefits, increased maintenance and cure, and maintaining all other benefits including Core Plus medical coverage.
Negotiations took place at the company’s office in Camden, New Jersey. Ballots were counted by Seafarer Robert Arble at the SIU hall in Philadelphia; all but one vote was cast in favor of the new agreement.
The SIU negotiating team included members Riley Johnson, Jeff Fackett and Scott Duncan along with Vice President Atlantic Coast Joseph Soresi and Philadelphia Port Agent Joe Baselice.
“Everything went well,” said Johnson, who has worked for Express Marine for 19 years. “I can’t complain – I don’t think anybody can. It’s a good contract and everybody’s working, so that’s always a plus. Some contracts are better than others. This is a pretty good one.”
Johnson added that he has served on every bargaining committee throughout his tenure with the company and always has appreciated the respectful tone of negotiations. “There’s never a shouting match because they’re not that kind,” he stated.
Meanwhile, members at Petty’s Island also found plenty to applaud in their new two-year agreement with Crowley. That contract calls for annual wage increases and boosts SMPPP contributions while maintaining everything else, including Core Plus medical benefits.
Negotiations took place in Jacksonville, Florida, and the contract (which covers around 35 Seafarers) was unanimously approved. Representing the SIU during the bargaining sessions were Soresi and Baselice.
“I think Joe Soresi and Joe Baselice did a tremendous job securing that contract,” said Bosun Scott Smith, one of the members covered by the agreement. “I’m sure the tireless work my union brothers and sisters do, also helped secure it. Thanks to the SIU for backing us all the way and making it happen.”
Petty’s Island is located in the Delaware River between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The members there work with ships and perform mechanical work on barges at Crowley’s facility.
Finally, members overwhelmingly approved a six-year pact with Port City Marine Services, Inc. That agreement covers more than 30 Seafarers who sail aboard the ITB Prentiss Brown/St. Mary’s Conquest and the ITF Bradshaw McKee/St. Mary’s Challenger. Voting took place in South Chicago, Illinois.
Contract highlights include annual wage increases, maintaining pension and health benefits at the top levels, and boosting SMPPP contributions. The SIU negotiating committee included Vice President Great Lakes Tom Orzechowski, Assistant Vice President Bryan Powell, Port Agent Todd Brdak, Port Agent Chad Partridge, Safety Director Don Thornton and Patrolman Vadym Gutara.
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