M.E.B.A. Members Peacefully Protest Liberty Maritime Corporation; American Workers Stage Demonstrations as New Crews Have Problems Operating Vessels

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M.E.B.A. President Mike Jewell commented on the situation as he stood on the picket line in Louisiana: “MEBA listened to Liberty, took all their economic and government affairs arguments into consideration, agreed that now is not the time for a labor dispute, and accepted their final economic proposal."

This weekend, Liberty Maritime Corporation (Liberty) locked out members of the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A.) from their jobs. In response the M.E.B.A. is conducting peaceful demonstrations in protests of Liberty’s decision, and is asking for support from fellow maritime unions. The M.E.B.A. also received news that two separate American Maritime Officer (AMO) crews have already experienced difficulties in operating the vessels.

M.E.B.A. members began protests in Louisiana and Texas where Liberty’s bulk cargo carrier vessels are moored. A picket line was thrown up Saturday at 12:01 a.m. after the contract with the company expired. Despite multiple attempts on behalf of the M.E.B.A. to negotiate a new agreement with Liberty, the company signed an employment contract with the AMO.

M.E.B.A. President Mike Jewell commented on the situation as he stood on the picket line in Louisiana: “MEBA listened to Liberty, took all their economic and government affairs arguments into consideration, agreed that now is not the time for a labor dispute, and accepted their final economic proposal. When we conveyed this acceptance to Liberty the silence on the other end of the phone from CEO Philip Shapiro was deafening. We later learned that Liberty had signed a contract with the AMO.”

For years the M.E.B.A. officers worked diligently aboard Liberty vessels supporting humanitarian efforts, and the economic and national security goals of the United States of America by carrying “Food for Peace” cargo. This government impelled cargo may now fall behind its delivery schedule as the AMO crews are having trouble starting the main engines on the ships docked in Louisiana and Texas.

M.E.B.A.’s dedicated workforce provided Liberty with excellent service since the company was formed in 1988. Current and past M.E.B.A. Administrations always supported Liberty’s political and legislative positions.

For updates on the M.E.B.A. protests please visit http://www.mebaunion.org.

About the M.E.B.A.:
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 in1875. Its members serve aboard tugs and barges, fireboats, research vessels and in various capacities in the shoreside industries. In wartime, M.E.B.A. members have sailed in virtually unarmed merchant ships delivering critical defense cargo despite attacks from enemy aircrafts, submarines and warships. In times of peace our members still face dangers such as piracy on the high seas in order to best serve their country.

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