New Support In Energy Sector For Offshore Mariners

Efforts to promote the rights of Gulf of Mexico mariners to choose for themselves whether to be represented by a union have been boosted significantly by strong support from a coalition of labor unions in the nation's oil capital of Houston. The new support was demonstrated last week on World Maritime Day (Sept. 26) when leaders of the Harris County (TX) AFL-CIO Council delivered a letter to Houston-based Trico Marine Services Inc. demanding that Trico end its long-standing anti-worker campaign and agree to fully respect the freedom of association and freedom of speech rights of its employees.

The letter was signed by Harris County AFL-CIO Council President E. Dale Wortham and Secretary-Treasurer Richard Harris, and delivered in person to Trico's Houston headquarters. A copy of the letter was also mailed to Trico's Houston headquarters. In delivering the letter, the two union leaders were accompanied to the Trico offices by a delegation of more than 20 mariners and representatives of unions from throughout the Houston area. A day earlier, representatives of OMU had addressed a gathering of representatives of some of the 74 labor organizations affiliated to the Harris County AFL-CIO Council. At that gathering, numerous CLC-affiliated unions, including a number of organizations deeply involved in the energy sector, pledged support for OMU's campaign against Trico's anti-worker policies. The OMU's campaign seeks an end to the Trico policies and practices that have created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation among workers. Last week's World Maritime Day letter specifically calls on Trico to stay neutral on the question of union representation for Trico mariners, to allow freedom of speech between mariners and union representatives and to engage in the Constructive Resolution Agreement put forward by the U.S. maritime unions.

The four U.S. maritime unions that jointly form the OMU are the American Maritime Officers (AMO), International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots (MM&P), Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association (MEBA), and Seafarers International Union (SIU).