West Coast Sailors

May 2022

The SUP honors on Memorial Day the merchant mariners who made the ultimate sacrifice in the nation's wars, celebrates them again on Maritime Day, and calls attention to their hazardous workplace on Workers Memorial Day. Coastwise negotiations for a new longshore agreement began in San Francisco between the ILWU and the PMA, two senators raided the rules that reserve a portion of the U.S. Food for Peace program for American ships and mariners.

April 2022

Shanghai and other Chinese ports locked down on an Omicron surge that caused new delays, diversions and disruption to shipping across the trans-Pacific trade. This issue also reports on the outrageous mass firing of British ferry workers and the stranding and endangerment of seafarers stranded by war in Ukraine. Together with the Transportation Trades Dept of the AFL-CIO, the SUP put forth a new maritime policy that will grow the U.S.-flag fleet and strengthen the supply chain. West Coast longshore negotiations are set to begin in May and Congressman Don Young is remembered. 

March 2022

The Russian invasion of Ukraine launched a brutal land war that killed thousands, many of them civilians and forced a refugee crisis. This issue reports on the high alert and logistical demands for NATO and the attacks on merchant shipping. The federal budget passed Congress with merchant mariners support and a key supply chain study found that U.S.-flag ships strengthen American resilience.

February 2022

As war loomed and then broke out in Eastern Europe, cynical shipping interests hatched another dangerous plot to undermine American mariners via a "runaway flag" U.S. Virgin Islands ship registry. This issue covers the strong objection of American maritime labor as well the elemental failing of the rotten FOC system. SUP sailors went up the gangway in the APL Dakar, secured the work in the Watson-class ships, Kamokuiki arrived in Tonga, the SUP election concluded, that and much more in the February WCS.  

January 2022

As the coronavirus variant called Omicron caused a huge wave of infection, the U.S. high court partially reversed the Biden Adminstration's vaccine mandate in a confusing split decision. At the same time China's zero tolerance no-COVID policy kept pressure on both the Union and the supply chain, as we await a full accounting of the Tonga tsunami. The NDAA secured jobs for the SUP and this issue outlines passport renewals as well as Medicare/Pension benefits, costs, and rules. With sad farewell, we report the names of those who embarked on their final departures in 2021. 

December 2021

President Biden took the bold step of supporting workers on strike at Kellogg's, where a toxic new permanent replacement strategy was added to the labor dispute. At the same time the ominous Omicron variant wave struck the United States with fury and speed. Amazon lost at the NLRB and the SUP crewed up its newest ship the CMA-CGM Dakar. We remember Christmas parties of the past and the December loss of SUP merchant seaman over eighty years ago in 1941 at the outset of WWII aboard Cynthia Olson and Lahaina.

November 2021

A trillion-dollar Congressional infrastructure package that will benefit labor for years was signed into law. Although there are still some units that are either striking or still bargaining, a large coalition of health-care Unions reached a tentative deal with Kaiser, narrowly averting a major strike. The booster shot is now available to all adults in the U.S., maritime labor again took up the fight against sexual abuse and harassment and SUP elections were set to get underway on December 1.   

October 2021

The SUP returned to the South Pacific under the U.S. flag on the Matson decks of Kamokuiki. This issue explores the genetic history of Polynesian voyaging, finding that Samoan mariners were among the greatest discoverers the world has ever known. Meanwhile, back in Washington, the adversaries of American mariners proposed permanent waiver of what was a temporary COVID emergency exclusion of the “foreign port” provision of the Passenger Vessel Services Act. Vaccination deadlines loom, COVID congestion persists, a top MarAd nomination is made, and we remember El Faro.

September 2021

SUP crews took over the decks of government reserve ships in a major RRF activation during the Delta surge in late August, once again staring down the danger and overcoming a million obstacles to prove readiness. The AFL-CIO proved its own resilience with the election of President Liz Shuler to succeed Rich Trumka and labor was a key element of the defeat the Calfiornia recall vote. This issue reports on Jones Act scammers, supply chain woes, merchant ship attacks, vaccine mandates, election information, APL wages and much more. 

August 2021

The Union marked the sudden loss of a fierce Union leader, Rich Trumka. The loss was compounded by the passing of SUP stalwart Art Thanash, while the rest of us grappled with the pandemic whiplash caused by the onset of the Delta variant. This issue reports on present and future vaccination mandates, major bi-partisan infrastructure legislation, a first fatal shipping drone strike, SUP election information including pending nominations for office, Watson-class award extension, and Matson's vaccination incentive program. Look astern at parades of the past and Happy Labor Day!