Author Archives: Josh


Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

Representative Mark Neumann, Representative Steve Thompson and Representative Les Gara will convene April 9 to vote on Senate amended bill calling for the elimination of pay increases for state employees that were negotiated in bargaining agreements of 14 unions.

It is vital to phone or email these Representatives and cordially voice your opinion. It will be extremely helpful for our members from the Anchorage and Fairbanks areas to express their views. Any family, friends or other supporters are encouraged to call as well.

We understand this is very short notice, things are moving fast right now and we must act as quick as they happen. We need to stand up for what is right. We must hold the state accountable when they enter into an agreement, let us not set a precedence for backing out of agreements at the last minute. As Senator Egan said “Alaska is a state that keeps its word. We shook hands on a contract and it’s wrong to break it.”

Les Gara (Anchorage): 907-465-2647   email:

Steve Thompson (Fairbanks): 907-465-3004   email:

Mark Nuemann (Big Lake): 907-465-2679   email:


In Solidarity,

Joshua J. Stephenson

Regional Director

Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific Alaska Region

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Time to take action

Brothers and Sisters,

We need to take action to support summer ferry service now! We encourage all members, family members, friends and supporters of our ferry system to act. Time is of the essence, the clock is ticking. Any support we can rally from northern districts, particularly Kenai, will be especially helpful.

As you may know, this week  Senate sub-committee cut another $6 million from the Alaska Marine Highway operating budget which means that the State will not be able to finance full service weeks scheduled for this summer starting in July.  The Senate Finance Committee will likely have public hearings on the budget next week.

In the meantime, please write a short email to your legislators and the key Committee Chairs listed below.  Share the importance of the AMHS to your and your community and ask them to reinstate funding.  If you need help getting started, check out the sample letter below.

Yours in Solidarity,

Joshua J. Stephenson

Regional Director IBU Alaska

Sample letter idea:

Dear Senators and Representatives:

Please restore funding to the operating budget so that the State of Alaska can provide the scheduled aboard the Alaska Marine Highway System this summer.

My community depends on the Marine Highway for…

People have already booked tickets and made entire travel plans around the Marine Highway Schedule

I realize that all departments will have to cut costs.  I think efficiencies could be found by…

However, these reductions should be made in a planned, thoughtful way.  Slashing away at scheduled service will likely cost the State more in lost revenue than we will gain in savings.




Send emails to your Senator and Representative as well as these key finance committee members.

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General Information





Here are some points of information.

4 WEEK DISPATCH—This will continue as per our CBA, we are to meet with the state to discuss possible changes—more info will be forthcoming.

TRAVEL PAY—If you are a DRAE or RARE or Relief you do not get travel pay.  The only time travel pay is payable is if you are a RAE going to your own vessel at other than your regular change port.

PAY PROBLEMS- Please contact payroll before you call the union—most of the time you can get it worked out. File a Notice of Pay Problem with the state, it is the employee’s responsibility to complete the form with full details and get a copy to the Union.  If, after receiving a response from payroll, you still disagree then give us a call.

DISPATCH— Please check the crew list on Fridays.  We continue to have crew who do not check it because they think they are laid off.  You run the risk of being terminated, having a reprimand in your permanent file and losing money.


Pete Lapinski


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Local Union Meeting with Governor

Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

The local union leaders who have contracts with the state were asked to meet with Governor Walker, Lt. Governor Mallet and staff, yesterday, March 11. There were several topics discussed, including the state wanting to reduce spending, increase revenue and how the unions may be able to assist.  This was an informal discussion only, no decisions were made regarding anything at all. The option for more discussions was mulled over and may happen at a later date.  If anything concrete comes out of any meetings we will let you know ASAP. Thank you for all the support and any questions you may have don’t hesitate to call.


Yours in Solidarity,

Joshua J. Stephenson

Regional Director

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Regional Directors Report

Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

This has been an educational past two months for me here. Our members have been very accepting of the change in office in our region. I would like to encourage our members to call or stop by our office to discuss any issues you may have, I believe in an open door policy. I want to thank all of you again for your support and trust.

Our E-Council met here in Juneau in January to deal with issues facing our members and to take care of our Regions business. Last week I attended the national council meeting where we discussed, planned and executed the actions of our union with the direction of all the regional directors, national president and national secretary-treasurer. Our agenda was full, every region having new issues and old to attend to. This has been a very busy time for us as far as taking care of the business of our union.

AMHS- We have finally received the signature page from the State for our new CBA. We have posted this on the IBU website. The contract has been sent to Seattle for printing, this should be available in a few months.

With the current oil climate in such a drastic state of affairs, Governor Walker has directed substantial cuts across the board. Thankfully, the Governors support of maritime industry has proposed a budget that allows the AMHS to operate at 400 service weeks, the normal operating average.

The DOT has implemented a quick fix of using AMHS bars and bartenders as a sacrificial lamb to fall in line with budget cuts. Even though AMHS has been funded through fiscal year 2015, ending on July 1st 2015, the bars are still being closed now. The justification is that our bars lose money year round and the bartenders make over a million dollars a year combined including benefits. We’ve asked for the cost and revenue figures to substantiate these claims, but we have not yet received them.

We have been in several meetings with legislatures to discuss the top heavy management of AMHS, as opposed to taking the lazy man’s way out by simply cutting vessel service and mariners jobs. During winter months AMHS cuts the operating fleet down in half while retaining near 100% office support.

Several senators and representatives are in favor of and understand the necessity of AMHS service to our great state. We encourage all mariners, friends and family to call House Transportation Committee to courteously voice your opinion on the matter.

Rep. Dan Ortiz –                907-465-3824

Rep. Neal Foster –            907-465-3789

Rep. Shelly Hughes –        907-465-3743

Rep. Charisse Millett –     907-465-3879

Rep. Benjamin Nageak – 907-465-3473

Rep. Louise Stutes –         907-465-2487

Rep. Matt Clayman –        907-465-4919

We are currently setting up a solid date to meet with state to discuss an agreeable fix to the four-week dispatch issues. We are arranging for the later part of March with meetings in Ketchikan to include dispatchers to utilize their experience for a solution.

To our understanding the State has not yet implemented the Actor decision. We still do not know how implication of this ruling will impact our members.

We are waiting to hear the decision on the unfair labor practice filed for FVF crew meals. That decision could be a lengthy wait as there was no deadline put on the decision date.

Crowley- The vast majority of our members with Valdez Crowley are happy. There are some travel pay issues that are being addressed by our shop stewards, thank you both for your help and leadership up there.

Ketchikan Gateway Borough – All reports are things are running smooth.

Valdez longshore- With a new contract in place our brethren are doing well.

City of Unalaska- Our members doing good and happy.

Alaska Nautical Services- We are still attempting to come to an agreement with ANS management. Due to a change in operations, ANS has decided to renegotiate the entire contract that is in place. Negotiations are in progress and hope to find a resolve soon. Hold fast up there guys.

Delta Western- Negotiations ongoing, national president Cotè is still spearheading this contract.


Yours in Solidarity,

Joshua J. Stephenson

Regional Director IBU Alaska


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Regional Director’s Report

Greetings brothers and sisters,

I’d like to thank our union brothers and sisters for choosing me to represent our region. It is an honor and a privilege to be elected as your regional director and it is humbling that you place your faith and trust in me. I do not take this responsibility lightly, and I will endeavor to represent you with the utmost transparency and boldness. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

We all send former regional director Ricky Deising our best wishes. As a 35 year veteran of our union and a 32-year AMHS employee, he will be sorely missed. He fought every battle with his vast knowledge, upbeat personality, and tireless courage, all for the good of our union.

I’d also like to congratulate all the E-Board members, new and returning, with a special thanks to Brother Pete Lapinski for his invaluable wisdom and vigorous defense of our workers’ rights.  This is an exciting time for us with many endeavors ahead. I’m confident we will continue to unite and overcome any challenges.

We are still in contract negotiations with Alaska Nautical. We will continue to fight for our brothers’ and sisters’ rights in this ongoing struggle.

We are in our final stages of contract language with Delta Western. National President Alan Coté has been the driving force behind this contract, and we appreciate his knowledge and experience in this negotiation.

Because of the dedication of our brothers and sisters, we have secured contracts for Crowley, Sundance Stevedoring, Ketchikan Gateway Borough, and the City of Unalaska. Much gratitude to all the hardworking members for making these contracts possible.

Our AMHS contract will be in print and sent out as soon as the State of Alaska signature page is received. We are currently addressing LWOP, dispatch and sick leave issues with the State of Alaska. We will diligently pursue fair treatment for our members.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas


In solidarity,

Joshua J. Stephenson

Regional Director

Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific

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Tentative Agreement

June 13th 2014.

Greetings Brother and Sisters,

Your negotiations team has signed a Tentative Agreement with the State of Alaska. The next step is to send ballots to all AMHS workers for a ratification vote. You will be seeing ballots in your mailboxes soon.

When this negotiating process began, the State’s position was for a “zero cost contract” and they held fast to that concept throughout the winter and spring. They were after our COLD, our passes, and were determined to cut across the board.

However, the memberships’ efforts to defeat Senate Bill 182, our unified stand with our brothers and sisters in the MM&P and MEBA, our resounding vote to strike if necessary, as well as the support of labor unions statewide turned the “takeaway tide.” We showed the State of Alaska what “Alaska Strong” is all about.

Copies of the Tentative Agreement will be available soon for your review and consideration.

Important elements of the proposed agreement include:

  • A 1% raise in 2015 and a 2% raise in 2016 for all members.
  • Qualifying members retain their COLD wages.
  • Important Deck and Engine positions will receive additional increases to approach maritime industry standards. Boatswains and Junior Engineers will make the same as Chief Stewards and Chief Pursers. AB Seamen will increase to the former Boatswain’s rates. Oilers will increase to the former Jr. Engineer’s rates. Ordinary Seamen will increase to the former AB Seamen rates.
  • Jr. Pursers will increase to Storekeeper wage rates.
  • We keep Rule 21 Late Arrival pay.
  • We keep the lump sum pay for qualifying members described in Rule 17.06.
  • Kennicott members will be able to choose to be dispatched back into the fleet during operational schedule changes. Additional “place holder days” have been added to those members who would otherwise risk LWOP.
  • We keep passes, but those who use them will be subject to an annual administrative fee of $100.00.

As with all issues, we urge all members to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the ballot proposal. Debate pro and con is expected and welcomed. Nevertheless, your negotiations team believes this to be the best deal we can expect or will receive from the State of Alaska. With a unified voice, we strongly recommend an affirmative vote on the proposed ballot.


In Solidarity,

Ricky Deising, Regional Director

Kerry Crocker, Steward Representative

Earling Walli, Deck Representative

Mark Slichter, Engine Representative

Siwatu McLaurin, SW Representative

Michael Queen, Purser Representative




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