Brothers and Sisters,
We had a very progressive meeting yesterday with a recently formed Labor Management Committee (LMC) to specifically address dispatch topics. Some of the main topics addressed were vacation approval issues and the dispatching process, mariner documents and the government shut down, use of a 3-day Unfit for Duty (UFFD) in yards, yard swaps, and vessel manning issues.
Vacation approval and dispatch process: The process of approving vacations is as follows: a request is submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to your preferred date(s), 20 days prior to that date dispatch will either approve or deny it based on current manning needs for the vessels. If two requests conflict with one another where only one can be approved, seniority will be observed. We realize that in order to properly understand the vacation approval process in its entirety, it’s necessary for us to firstly understand how dispatching works. Mark Hillberry and I, and potentially another member, will tentatively be shadowing dispatch early February. We’re hopeful that with better understanding of the dispatch process, we can have a more educated approach to addressing vacation approval issues.
Mariner documents with government shutdown: Currently, the USCG has approved waivers for MMC national endorsements only that have December, January, or February expiration dates which will remain valid until April 30th, 2019. It is recommended that you carry the following document titled “MMC Link” on the IBU webpage with your MMC: https://ibupak.org/wp-content/uploads/fiscal_year_appropriations_mitigation_update_20190124.pdf. AMHS is complying with the USCG waiver in terms of considering your MMC as valid, however, they are adhering to their policy of requiring proper and valid qualifications and endorsements for dispatching certain positions. To learn more about this and how it potentially affects you, refer to the post titled “AMHS Stance on Expired Documents”: https://ibupak.org/2019/01/25/amhs-stance-on-expired-documents/
3-day UFFD in yards: There was cause for concern from management about using the 3-day unfit in yards more than once. We expressed to them that in longer yard periods, there’s a likely possibility for a person to be sick on two or more different occasions for the duration of the yard period. They took our concerns into consideration and will be having internal discussions on the matter.
Yard swaps: We voiced our concern about our inability to utilize more members for yard swaps due to the AMHS policy of requiring a lifeboat certificate for positions that have lifeboat duties. The union is trying to work out a process that would allow a member who doesn’t have a lifeboat certificate to work a yard position with the stipulation that all vessel-specific amount of COI lifeboat endorsement qualifications are met.
Vessel manning issues: It’s well known that AMHS has now opened their hiring period to year-round due to manning shortages. At the same time, some vessels have had certain positions suspended which has negatively affected the balance of the workload. This is an ongoing discussion and the Union is trying to establish a consistent and appropriate manning level to properly handle the workload.
Overall, we felt the meeting went very well and both sides met in good faith to address important issues brought up by our members. We look forward to continuing our Labor Management Committee and building our relationship with AMHS.