West Coast Sailors

May 2023
Iranian military vessels swarmed and seized three tankers as the belligerence against unarmed merchant ships prompted the U.S. to increase security in the strategic waters of the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. Back at home Hawaii Congressman Ed Case kept waging war on the Jones Act, even as Honolulu SUP members engaged in community action there to renovate a middle school. A new report found widespread exploitation of international seafarers.
April 2023

The U.S.-flag maritime industry gathered forces to educate and inform all of Congress in a single day on issues critical sustain the American Merchant Marine. At the same time, testimony at House Readiness subcommittee confirmed that both MarAd and TRANSCOM backed the President's budget and called out the mariner shortage. The Coast Guard warned of credentialing delays, and this issue reports on LNG conversions, U.S. maritime strategy, Food for Peace, and a recent NLRB ruling on terminal jurisdiction in Seattle. 

March 2023

After a long career as President of the Seafarers International Union and the Maritime Trades Department, President Mike Sacco retired and Dave Heindel was elected to succeed him. President Biden approved a drilling project in Alaska as he sent to Congress a budget that fully funds the MSP. This issue also reports on TRANSCOM recognition of mariners, Coast Guard manning shortfalls, Russian oil trading, and Chinese spy cranes. It also honors a stalwart champion of maritime workers' rights -- Capt. George Quick -- and celebrates 138 years of SUP history.    

February 2023

The SUP Negotiating Committee reached a tentative milestone agreement with Chevron Shipping boosting compensation in many forms. In Congress, TTD President Greg Regan testified in support of the Jones Act at the first House Transportation hearing on supply chain reslience. Matson's first post-pandemic financial outlook comes out, and there are reports on military developments, train derailments, tax tips, and a crew that legally seized a ship. And AFL-CIO Sec-Treas. Fred Redmond gives a stirring op-ed on Unions and civil rights.   

January 2023

With vast ramifications China removed most of its travel restrictions, including for seafarers, tossing out its zero tolerance policy on COVID-19. Cases rose quickly however, and much remains uncertain. In Washington the Supreme Court heard arguments about the basic right to strike with a decision pending in June. Crew condition in shipyards were called out by two Senators and the ILWU Local 19 President Herald Ugles argued for a balanced preservation of Seattle's precious working waterfront. The Ready Reserve got a raise and the SUP celebrated MLK day. 

December 2022

In an historic and controversial maneuver, Congress voted to intervene in railorad collective bargaining, imposing terms on their Unions. Democrats retained control of the Senate as the massive U.S. defense spending bill was set for approval, with many mostly favorable consequences for sailors. Social Security Benefit strategies are evaluated and CMA CGM profits analyzed. And in words and pictures the SUP sends holilday cheer to sailors at sea and ashore. 

November 2022

Just as the midterm elections brought change to Washington, Matson Navigation signed a deal for three new Aloha-class containerships to be built in Philadelphia. Intense objection and scrutiny came from Congress over the recent Department of Homeland Security waiver of the Jones Act in Puerto Rico. The SUP celebrated the historic wartime contributions of members and U.S. merchant mariners on Veterans Day and wishes everyone at sea and ashore a Happy Thanksgiving.     

October 2022

After all the hardship and pain of the pandemic, SUP members approved a raise and a new Agreement with APL. This issue breaks down the issues and the outcome, providing detail on the bargaining and the benefits. Pensioners get their own recognition and the fight goes on. The Garamendi cargo preference bill is analyzed as well as the predatory Jones Act disaster waiver process. A new study finds long-time Union members earn more on average than college graduates and the 28th Convention of the SIUNA gets some ink. That and more in the October issue of the West Coast Sailors.  

September 2022

SUP sailors in coastwise meetings voted for a strike resolution as negotiations continued with American President Lines. Warning that worsening conditions and declining pay was unacceptable, especially as the profits of shipping companies soared while essential workers struggled. The resolution does not mean sailors are walking off their ships, or necessarily going on strike, but it is a strong endorsement to streamline the procedure in favor of fast action. Meanwhile, the supply-chain rail unions seek deal ratification, China resumed lockdowns and Hurricane Fiona flooded Puerto Rico.

August 2022

The world's biggest container lines are in general on course to post remarkable profits in 2022, amid ongoing pandemic buying and a logistical squeeze. Recruitment difficulties in the U.S. military are highlighted in this issue as a window on the competitive labor market and the AFL-CIO calls out corporate execs on the negative effects of excessive pay. President Biden seals a string of victories with the Inflation Reduction Act and the Coast Guard honors the life-saving efforts of the SUP crew in CMA-CGM Herodote.