Members Ink Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Contract

 

May 2018

 

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SIU crews have ratified a new five-year contract with Great Lakes Dredge & Dock. The agreement includes wage increases, maintains all benefits and covers approximately 120 Seafarers.

 

Negotiating on behalf of the union were SIU Vice President Contracts George Tricker, Assistant Vice President Archie Ware, Chief Engineer Edward Mancke, AB/Dragtender Charles Troutwine and AB/Dragtender Billy Born.

 

Tricker stated, “Even though the company is experiencing some tough times and restructuring its corporate model, our relationship moving forward remains positive, with new faces in place. I commend the rank-and-file members of our bargaining committee, whose professionalism and knowledge helped us secure the best possible contract at this time.”

 

Ware noted that it took two bargaining sessions before the union and company reached a tentative pact. “It was a tough negotiation but all in all, I think it went well,” he said.

 

The contract maintains medical coverage at the Core-Plus level, which is the top one available under the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan. It also maintains Seafarers Pension Plan benefits and vacation pay.

 

Mancke, a Seafarer since 1991, called the contract “a decent agreement. I wouldn’t have presented it (to other members) if I thought it wasn’t fair. You can’t please everybody all the time, but the majority of us understand the company needs a hand.”

 

He said that maintaining all benefits and not losing any holidays were among the contract’s highlights. Mancke added that against the backdrop of financial difficulties faced by the company, securing annual wage increases in the last four years of the pact seems “very fair.”

 

Similarly, Troutwine pointed out, “We didn’t lose anything in this contract, and that was the main thing. I think it’s a fair contract for everybody. The company has a restructure plan and a rebuilding plan.”

 

Troutwine had previously served on one other negotiating committee. He has sailed with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock for 20-plus years, and has been a Seafarer since 1988, when he completed the trainee program at the union-affiliated school in Piney Point, Maryland. He said that although the most recent sets of negotiations were more contentious than in years past, “I’m happy with the wages, plus we kept our medical benefits and we kept our pension.”

 

A Seafarer since 2002 and a Great Lakes Dredge and Dock mariner since 2005, Born said, “I think it’s a fair contract on all sides. There were a lot of things brought to the table that were unsettling at first, but in the end, we kept everything we had in prior contracts.”

 

Great Lakes Dredge and Dock is the self-described “largest provider of dredging services in the United States and the only U.S. dredging company with significant international operations.” Its areas of operation include New York; Miami; Jacksonville, Florida; Charleston, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia, and more.

 

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