SIU mariners working aboard Express Marine vessels recently ratified a new, three-year contract with wage increases each year, among other improvements.
Negotiating for the SIU were Captain Riley Johnson, Mate Jeff Fackett and AB Scottie Duncan, alongside Philadelphia Port Agent Joe Baselice.
The contract includes improved vacation benefits, a boost to the Seafarers Money Purchase Pension Plan, and larger pension contributions. Members also maintain their medical coverage at the Core Plus level, the highest available under the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan.
Fackett said, “It was an awesome process. Joe did a great job, and everyone seems to think it’s a great contract. Given the current conditions of the industry, I think we did a good job.”
Duncan, who had served on a previous negotiating committee, said, “I think the new contract is going to be good for everyone. I believe it’s going to help our retirement benefits, as well as our weekly paychecks. Joe Baselice helped us pull some things together at the last minute, and was a real help during the whole process.”
The new contract covers approximately 25 members.
“Everything went well,” said Baselice. “We were able to address everything that the members had asked for, and it all came together in a nice package that the membership overwhelmingly approved. It’s a good contract with a good company.”
Express Marine, Inc. has provided safe, reliable tug and barge transportation for dry bulk and liquid cargos along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Caribbean and associated bays, harbors and rivers for more than 100 years. SIU members sail aboard the company’s fleet of tugs and barges, which range from smaller inland units to larger offshore ones.