West Coast Sailors

August 2023

More than a hundred Hawaiians perished in a sudden wildfire in Lahaina, and the shocked and homeless coped in the aftermath. Matson and its labor Unions helped form the first line of relief logistics. President Joe Biden again backed the Jones Act at the Philly Shipyard, declaring the economic benefit of "American crews" for "American ships." The Government Accountability Office's released a report on Merchant Mariner Credentials, and U.S. Marines may soon be on commercial merchant ships. There's hot weather working advice, PAX wages, and Capt. George Quick is remembered in this issue.

July 2023

ILWU Canada walked off the docks, forcing employers back to the table, and a first settlement evolved. In the U.S., senators opposed to labor floated anti-stike legislation aimed at maritime workers. In London, the IMO declined to be definitive on ship emissions and alternative fuels and a terrible ship fire caused the tragic deaths of two New Jersey firemen. The Coast Guard backlog on MMC credentials improved as passport delays worsened. This issue remembers Bloody Thursday, looks at the sub Titan disaster, and honors the Union band members of Titanic.  

June 2023

Aboard Matson and APL ships, SUP crews were among the first to deliver much needed supplies to typhoon-devastated Guam. A new MSP ship called APL Eagle joined the fleet, and longshore workers struck a six year tenative deal as the West Coast Sailors went to press. We celebrate both the birthday of U.S. merchant and national Memorial Day recognition, as well as the transformational first year of Pres. Liz Shuler at the helm of the AFL-CIO.  

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.