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    Offshore Mariners United closes down

    News // July 4, 2003
    The Offshore Mariners United (OMU) union has closed down.

    In a recent statement, OMU said: "Although the Offshore Mariners United will close for business effective July 1, 2003, we are proud of our campaign's many accomplishments during the past five years. It's true that we fell short of our final goal. It's also true that there were many victories along the way. We helped improve the working conditions and lives of many Oil Patch mariners and their families, and ultimately that is what unions are all about."

    "Since the OMU came into being, day rates for many have improved by as much as 40 percent. Some companies have dramatically improved their health care benefits. And many more companies are paying for their mariners to upgrade their skills, saving the average worker hundreds to thousands of dollars out of their pockets. There is no doubt that those gains are a direct result of the OMU's presence."

    "There are no yellow billboards announcing these achievements, no crayfish boils celebrating these facts, no flyers outlining these deeds. But there are families up and down the Gulf enjoying improved living conditions because the OMU stood up to the boat owners and fought for their causes, demanding justice."

    "The overall difficulty of the campaign underscores the fact that the deck is often stacked against workers who want to join a union. Oil Patch mariners created the OMU because they were tired of low wages and weak or nonexistent benefits. Yet, during the campaign - like many other unrepresented workers across the nation - they fell victim to ineffective labor laws and companies that don't respect their employees' legal right to join a union. In many cases during the past five years, harassment by the companies was the norm. Just imagine if the money the companies spent on lawyers and outside firms fighting this campaign instead went to the mariners for higher wages and better benefits. It is a credit to the mariners and organizers who were involved inthe campaign that they persevered, motivated by the basic hope of securing a better standard of living for themselves and their families."

    "The OMU thanks everyone who has been a part of this effort to improve the working conditions and lives of Oil Patch mariners. We are proud of the progress that was achieved. We remain confident that no matter how many millions are spent by companies tokeep their employees from freely expressing their opinions, the voice of working people ultimately will be heard."

    If you want more information about joining a maritime union, you may contact: American Maritime Officers (AMO) at 954-926-5115; The International Organization of Masters, Mates and Pilots (MM&P) at 504-837-5700; Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association (MEBA) at 504-523-1884; Seafarers International Union (SIU) at 504-328-7545.

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