JULY 1, 2013 — The Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A.) and Interlake Steamship Company have reached an agreement on a 12-year contract for 10 bulker vessels on the Great Lakes.
M.E.B.A. rank and file members Erik Wlazlo, Jon Hines, Rob Thomas and Kelsey MacDonald assisted union president Mike Jewell and M.E.B.A. representative Greg Quintana in contract negotiations at M.E.B.A. Headquarters.
They succeeded in securing the defined benefit pension plan and locking in what the maritime union says are "some of the largest shipboard wage increases the union has seen on a commercial contract in decades." Increased Plans funding was also agreed to as well as wage reopeners every four years.
"This is a surprisingly good contract considering the current economic conditions. We are very happy," said Mr. Walzlo.
The 10 Interlake vessels employ M.E.B.A. mates, engineers and stewards (considered officers on the Great Lakes). Feedback from the Interlake fleet has been positive and members recognize and appreciate Mr. Jewell's efforts and negotiating ability. "
This contract will exceed the expectations of most of the members," said Mr. Thomas. "I think that once people have read it they will be satisfied overall."
Interlake and M.E.B.A. have enjoyed a solid relationship for years, which has benefited the union members and the company. Both organizations look forward to continuing a mutually prosperous relationship over the next 12 years.
About the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association
The M.E.B.A., America's oldest maritime labor union, supplies U.S. Coast Guard-licensed deck and engineering officers in both the U.S. domestic and international trades. The Union was established in 1875. Its members serve aboard containerships, tankers, tugs and barges, research vessels and ferries. In wartime, M.E.B.A. members have sailed in virtually unarmed merchant ships delivering critical defense cargo despite attacks from enemy aircraft, submarines and warships. In times of peace, our members still face dangers such as piracy on the high seas in order to serve their country.