AMO secures significant wage increases in new contracts as companies step up to attract, retain mariners

In recent months, the American Maritime Officers contracting team successfully completed contract negotiations with Liberty Maritime covering the company’s three bulk carriers, and with Sealift, Inc. covering the M/V Sagamore and M/V Richard Winters.

AMO officers who work onboard the covered vessels served on committees for each set of negotiations. While these ships are operated by different companies and serve in different trades, the new AMO agreements covering these vessels do have one thing in common – AMO officers in all licensed positions will see wage increases exceeding 20 percent and will also see substantial increases in vacation.

“Sustainment of a stable workforce of AMO engine and deck officers in rewarding jobs is central to our active roles in national security and defense sealift, as well as commercial trades,” said AMO National President Paul Doell. “The terms of these agreements reflect our unwavering commitment to the benefit of the AMO membership, as well as the commitment of Liberty and Sealift to sustaining a healthy base of active officers and meeting the needs and responsibilities of today’s U.S.-flag merchant fleet.”

Both Liberty and Sealift officials acknowledged the current playing field of an industry-wide mariner shortage and responded by approving exceptional wage increases, along with shorter rotations and quality of life improvements, such as better connectivity using Starlink or an equivalent product onboard the covered vessels.

“I am very appreciative to both Liberty and Sealift. Leading into the talks, we discussed the current market for officers – especially junior officers,” AMO National Executive Vice President Willie Barrere said. “These were not normal negotiations, as both the companies and AMO realize we are in a unique time in our maritime history. The seagoing manning shortage puts us in competition with other maritime entities and extends into other industries to attract junior officers. We are working together to get higher wages for our mariners for both recruiting and retention.

“We all need to do our part to help mariners, as well as the industry. Everyone needs to take on the role of recruiter,” Barrere added. “I am appreciative of our companies taking action with these unprecedented increases and I am sure that our upcoming contract negotiations will continue this trend.”

The double-digit wage increases from both companies far exceed previous commercial contract negotiations. Sealift also approved AMO’s first six percent 401k match program, a further signal that the company is investing in the future of its mariner workforce.

“The moves by Liberty and Sealift put them near the top of AMO wages, setting new standards for junior officers,” said AMO Contract Analyst Chris Holmes. “We have several more contract negotiations coming up before the end of this year.”