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MM&P agrees to 10-year pact with U.S.-flag deep-sea operators, with 'hybrid' pension

Feb 15, 2013 09:52 PM

Variable component to replace traditional all-defined-benefit plan

The following is the text of a press release issued by the International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots:

(LINTHICUM, Md.) -- The Masters, Mates & Pilots Union (MM&P) announced yesterday that members of its Offshore Group have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a series of long-term collective bargaining agreements that implement a groundbreaking new “hybrid” pension plan with both a fixed and a variable component.


The new plan, which will replace MM&P’s traditional defined benefit plan with all major deep-sea employers, will enhance the union’s ability to compete for new jobs by making it easy for employers to forecast their all-in crewing expenses. The agreements that incorporate the new plan extend the duration of MM&Ps current commercial-sector collective bargaining agreements for a minimum of ten years from their previous expiration dates.


“The newly ratified agreements will provide long-term job security to MM&P members and preserve industry-leading MM&P standards of wages and working conditions aboard our contracted vessels,” said MM&P International President Don Marcus. “At the same time,” he said, “the Adjustable Pension Plan will open new doors of employment.”


MM&P members ratified the new collective bargaining agreements that incorporate the adjustable pension plan, or APP, by a margin of about 10 to 1. The agreements cover Licensed Deck Officers aboard approximately 80 deep-sea U.S.-flag merchant vessels.


The APP includes a baseline defined benefit and a variable component that can increase depending on the performance of plan investments. The traditional MM&P defined benefit plan will be frozen, with all vested benefits for current and future pensioners protected. There will be full reciprocity between the traditional plan and the adjustable plan, so that service in both plans will count toward all eligibility and vesting.

“MM&P members, leaders and employers, are confident this plan will be sustainable into the future,” Marcus said. “The MM&P General Executive Board extends its gratitude to the members for sharing our belief in the need for change and voting to act on it.” Marcus also extended thanks to the shipping companies that contract with the union for crewing. “Our employers have stood with us as we worked through the many challenges of providing retirement security to our members over very difficult economic times,” Marcus said, “and we thank them for their contributions to this process.”

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