Seafarers could be forgiven for wondering if there’s a calendar somewhere that lists 2021 as the year of the contract.
Three more SIU agreements recently were ratified, on top of a half-dozen that were finalized earlier in the year – and more are on the way. The most recent pacts cover members at Matson Navigation, Intrepid Personnel and Provisioning (Crowley ATBs), and Argent Marine, respectively.
A new five-year agreement between Matson Navigation and the SIU has been reached. The new contract took effect July 1.
Highlights include yearly increases in wages and wage-related items, plus increased pension contributions and a conditional cost-of-living adjustment. In addition, members will receive increases to meal allowances, and gain the newest federal holiday, Juneteenth, which occurs on June 19 every year.
Representing the SIU on the negotiating committee were Vice President West Coast Nick Marrone and Port Agent Nick Marrone II. Also involved in their own respective negotiations were two SIUNA-affiliated unions: the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific, represented by President Dave Connolly, and the Marine Firemen’s Union, represented by President/Secretary Treasurer Anthony Poplawski.
SIU boatmen have ratified a new three-year agreement covering more than 250 Seafarers employed by Intrepid Personnel and Provisioning aboard company- operated articulated tug and barge units. The contract includes wage gains plus boosts to maternity leave benefits, subsistence and the reimbursement for safety shoes. Modifications to work schedules have been incorporated along with the consolidation of work rules. The agreement maintains Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan medical coverage at the top level (Core Plus), along with pension benefits.
The SIU negotiating team included Assistant Vice President Michael Russo, Assistant Vice President Kris Hopkins, Captain Larry Soulier, Chief Mate Coronado Hickman, AB Chad Cunningham and Engineers Chris Surehoffer and Jimmy Broussard.
Russo said, “It was a difficult negotiation, but the committee stood fast and we were able to hammer out a deal that was beneficial to all the members.”
The SIU also recently secured a new three-year contract with Argent Marine. The contract, negotiated by SIU Vice President of Contracts George Tricker and SIU Assistant Vice President Kris Hopkins, includes wage increases all three years, and maintains pension contributions throughout.
Hopkins described the bargaining as “tough but successful.” He added, “Any time we can negotiate gains for our members, it is a good thing, and shows the company wants to do right by their employees.”
Earlier in the year, the union secured new contracts with Inland Lakes Management, American Steamship Company, Crescent Towing, Seabulk Towing, OSG (inland), and Penn Terminal, among others.