West Coast Sailors

December 2023

Unarmed merchant ships were attacked this month in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Ships were shot at and sometimes hit with drones and missiles, and a car carrier was boarded and hijacked. Much of the violence came from Houthi rebels in Yemen and related to the Gaza War, but another ship was seized in the area, apparently by Somali pirates. The attacks have slowed commerce as calls for US and allied naval protection grew louder. At another chokepoint, the Panama Canal reduced transits, just as holiday container volumes turned positive. That and much much more in this holiday issue. 

November 2023

The SUP and maritime labor condemned another U.S.-flag second registry scheme as a raid on the Jones Act. A government shutdown was again temporarily deferred, and election results showed the strong influence of Unions on special and off-year election outcomes. This issue looks at the earnings results and outlook in the container trade, notes uplifting results from recently settled strikes, and commends a professional rescue in the dangerous waters of the Golden Gate.  

October 2023

President Biden walked the line with Union workers on strike and a debilitating government shutdown was delayed a few weeks. Sen. Diane Feinstein died in office, leaving a tremendous legacy. Dangerous maritime brinkmanship continued in the South China Sea, while political dysfunction in Congress degraded readiness. The outbreak of another war in the Mid-East put national maritime policy back in the spotlight and the SUP in LA crewed up the re-flagged Allied Pacific and it's all there in the West Coast Sailors.   

September 2023

The UAW launched an historic strike against the Big Three automakers, fighting for middle class pay raises, respecting new workers, and better job security in a time of record profits. Patriot won an important new MSC contract, and relief efforts in Hawaii gained support from members and the local maritime economy. Workers benefited from NLRB legal interpretations, COVID boosters are analyzed and wage raises at APL and Patriot are covered in full.

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.