Workers strike American Steamship
Licensed deck and engineering officers and stewards represented by the American Maritime Officers union walked off American Steamship Co. vessels on Monday after their union’s contract with the company expired at midnight on July 31.
AMO President Tom Bethel accused the ASC, a subsidiary of GATX, of refusing to negotiate in good faith, “or even present a proposal that recognizes the professionalism of the AMO officers and stewards and their value to a company that operates very profitably with AMO onboard its ships.”
ASC has a fleet of 17 self-unloading bulk vessels that operate on the Great Lakes.
“ASC made every effort to engage in constructive negotiations with the AMO, but the AMO refused to participate in this process,' said ASDC President David W. Foster. 'As a result, the existing AMO contract expired and ASC has temporarily ceased operations.
“Our goal has been to reach a fair and equitable agreement with our licensed crewmembers that allows ASC to become more competitive on the Great Lakes. While this remains our goal, we will enact our contingent operating plan and make every effort to serve our customers as effectively as possible.
“If the labor situation continues unresolved, we will work towards being able to operate our full contingent of vessels in 2012 with other qualified crewmembers.”
In an article posted on AMO's Web site, Bethel said ASC’s final offer would “cut 14 jobs arbitrarily, give the company the ability to eliminate a total of 56 jobs, and would fail to fund the medical, retirement and training benefits of AMO officers.” He said 99 percent of AMO members working for the company voted to reject ASC’s proposal.