Greetings Brothers and Sisters,
Where to begin? It has been a busy few months at the home port. Your delegates recently attended the 61st annual IBU convention in Seattle. It was a very uplifting and educational experience. We had a teleconference with Senator Sanders, who we unanimously voted to officially support for presidency. Here is a link to Labor for Bernie to sign and show support: http://www.laborforbernie.org/ please sign and encourage friends and family to do so as well if you’re so inclined.
Your union passed several resolutions including support of continued funding for AMHS, Alaska’s LNG project, an annual Ferry Boat Workers Caucus and to enact a solidarity campaign for our Brothers and Sisters of Delta Western.
We also had changes or amendments to our Constitution. An amendment passed for our members to submit a name change of our Union to their regional office for consideration. This was fueled by a desire by some to have a gender neutral Union name. To accomplish this, each member of the IBU will be called upon to submit ideas for a name to their regional offices. By November 2016 Regional Executive boards will choose two (2) names to submit to the Executive Council. The Executive Council will, from these fourteen (14) names, select two (2) names to go out on a national ballot, one of which will be the current name, the Inlandboatmen’s Union. Votes will be tallied by November 2017.
There is a request for dues increase of three (3) dollars a month. This may sound like a lot to some; however, to put this number in perspective, it is the equivalent of 1 hour of overtime a year. Of course this will be put out to ballot, again I encourage each and every one of our Brothers and Sisters to vote. It is the lifeblood of this Union. The IBU is a rank-n-file driven union, democracy is second to none and has been since its inception. Please exercise your right to vote, not only on this matter but every chance you get on all issues.
After our IBU convention I attended the International Federation of Employee Benefit Program conference. It was an extremely informative five days. Since the most of our IBU Alaska members are in the IBU health and pension it was advantageous to attend and learn the fundamentals of multi-employer pension and health trusts. This conference was paid for by A&I, our plan administrators.
Alaska Nautical Service contract is as smooth as can be. We are having very little concerns up there. Our relationship with ANS management has been improving vastly over the last ten months. It is nice to have contracts that there is open dialogue and working together. It is reminiscent of Crowley Valdez relationship. Again I want to express my sincere thanks to our Shop Steward up there who is very active and involved.
Crowley Valdez is doing well. Very few complaints or concerns, again in large part Shop Stewards who are energetic and enthusiastic. Crowley Valdez is currently in the midst of an important RFP and given the tremendous safety record and professionalism displayed by our mariners we are optimistic Crowley Valdez will be given the contract. Continue the good work and pride in your Union and employer guys.
Sundance Stevedoring, Ketchikan Gateway Borough and City of Unalaska all are pleased with no issues.
AMHS is still our most trying and complicated contract. As we all know the State is in severe financial crises which makes the future rather uncertain. The proposed operating schedule shows a number of vessels offline for an indeterminate time. This operating schedule is a proposal and may be adjusted depending up the legislative body and their willingness to approve funding.
We are still improving our communication and relationship with the State and making positive steps towards that goal. We continue to have major issues with payroll and dispatch. Those are the two main areas that we hope to smooth out. If we could reduce the amount of NOPP and grievances in those two areas it would dramatically improve things.
There has been a lot of misinterpretation of Chief Pursers and their watch hours. We are currently in a grievance process to address that confusion. We feel, according to the CBA language, Chief Pursers have a set straight 12 hour watch. The State feels that Pursers are watchstanders and therefore are to work a non-watch shift.
We are debating a provision in the Southwest supplemental when they are in yards. This is a matter of much discussion. Again, reading the language in the CBA, we feel our interpretation is correct.
There has been no progress on the Actor decision. We would like to find common ground that allows our members to use vacation they have earned, sick leave they accumulated and health insurance they have worked for. As of yet we have not reached an agreement, even though this decision was handed down over a year ago! I understand that this is frustrating for several of our members, please keep in mind we are working towards a solution that benefits not just the employer.
The Alaska Class Ferries are on schedule and will be the future vessels. They are a front loading vessels which provides challenges for the majority of AMHS ports of call. These ports are to be updated to accommodate the new vessels, the high cost of saving money!
Perhaps a weekly update on the AMHS contract would be better. There is so much transpiring it is difficult to put in a report every two months.
We would like to hear from the fleet with your thoughts on the pay period dispatch. Let us know if you like it or is not as good as we anticipated.
Please remember to vote, remain active and uphold the level of professionalism the public has come to expect from our membership. Safe sailings and Happy Thanksgiving.
As always, the IBU offices are staff are here to serve YOU. if you have any questions, comments or concerns call or stop by anytime.
Yours in Solidarity,
Joshua J. Stephenson
Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific