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Average daily earnings of seamen manning seagoing ships in the United States merchant marine, by rating and
coast of employment, spring 19571
29.04 35. 94 29. 43 27. 64 26. 13 27. 61 30. 39 23.04 26.03
3. 2 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.3 3.1 2. 7 1.5 3.5
9. 22 10. 59 9. 48 9.19 9.17 9.08 8. 61 4. 54 11.17
612 622 625 405 685
63 141 80
28. 97 35. 65 29. 34 27. 42 25. 76 27. 61 30.06 22.32 26. 94
3.3 3. 2 3. 2 3.1 3.0 1.3 4.0
9. 20 10.42 9. 41 8.92 8. 95 9.03 9. 52 3.90 12. 67
270 273 278 213 295
20 131 24
29. 18 36. 61 29. 63 28. 14 26.84 27.61 31. 44 23.82 23. 01
3.1 3.5 3.4 3.5 3.5 3. 1 1.8 1.7 2.0
9. 26 10. 97 9.64 9. 80 9. 59 9. 20 5. 78 5. 24 6. 20
All seamen (except masters and cadets)... 44, 785 All licensed seamen...
9, 627 Deck department
4, 820 Chief mates.
882 Second mates.
895 Third mates.
903 Fourth mates.
618 Radio officers.
980 Chief pursers, passenger.
83 Pursers, dry-cargo and tanker.
272 Assistant pursers, passenger.
104 Engine department 4
881 Second assistant engineers..
915 Third assistant enginecrs.
992 Junior third assistant engineers.. 780 Licensed junior engineers..
305 All unlicensed seamen..
35, 158 Deck department Bosuns.
429 Deck maintenance.
1, 656 Able-bodied seamen.
5, 503 Ordinary seamed. Engine department
10, 095 Unlicensed junior engineers.
667 Second electricians.
510 Engine maintenance.
2, 720 Firemen, water tenders.
2, 749 Wipers..
2, 224 Stewards department 4
13, 709 Chief stewards, passenger.
50 Chief stewards, dry-cargo and tanker..
833 Second stewards, passenger.
65 Chefs, passenger..
72 Cooks, passenger..
358 Cooks, dry-cargo and tanker.
856 Cooks and bakers, dry-cargo and tanker.
759 Assistant cooks, passenger.
246 Assistant cooks, dry-cargo and tanker...
857 Stewards, passenger..
1, 108 Waiters, passenger..
1, 103 Messmen, all ships.
5, 799 Bellboys, passenger.
243 1,060 3, 800 1, 842 6, 956
264 454 288
176 1, 909 1, 941 1, 540
5.00 2. 51 6.15 6. 36 3.18 5. 93 6. 13 2.02
16. 72 16.95 22. 61 20. 91 16. 25 16.89 17. 33 12. 41
2.7 3.0 1.1
The study also provided comparisons between average daily earnings for seamen (licensed and unlicensed) working in different segments of the industry. Seamen on subsidized trips of drycargo ships, for which the Government pays the difference in cost between American and foreign crews, averaged no more per day than seamen on nonsubsidized trips, who were paid for a higher average number of premium hours. 8
Seamen on tankers averaged more than seamen on other vessels and those on passenger ships in most ratings averaged more than those on drycargo vessels. Among the various types of drycargo vessels there were only slight differences in earnings except that premium earnings were higher on Liberty ships, which normally carry a small crew and, because of their construction and age, generally have higher maintenance requirements.
Although there are many special pay provisions in contracts covering work while in port, they do not increase a seaman's average daily earnings over his earnings while at sea; in fact, seamen averaged slightly less while on port payrolls than they did at sea. Voyages with many port stops did not provide higher average daily earnings than those with only a few port stops.
There was also no substantial difference in earnings that could be traced to variations between trade areas except that unlicensed seamen on intercoastal trips had a higher average than those sailing to any of the other trade areas studied.
have shoreside jobs and are available only for an occasional voyage. When a seaman is ready to return to work, he then must seek a new job. The length of time required to find a new berth varies greatly and seamen are, therefore, faced with an occupational type of unemployment which is unique to the industry.
Seamen are typically employed through unionoperated hiring halls, in which the employment procedures give preference to experienced seamen and require new seamen to apply for union membership within 30 days after being hired.' Some of the unions provide for the issuance of temporary working permits.10 All of the union contracts provide that the shipping company may reject, for certain specified reasons, a seaman who has been referred by a hiring hall. The agreements covering licensed officers generally give the companies more leeway in hiring, although they usually require membership in the union.
Annual Employment. Labor-management agreements in the industry require that the companies pay a specified amount, or percentage of base pay, for each day of employment into the various vacation funds, which are operated jointly by the unions and the employers. The records of these payments for individual seamen in most cases furnished the data for the annual employment study. Data were collected for about 7,000 seamen representative of those w thin scope of the
Annual Employment and Earnings
The economic position of seamen can best be evaluated if knowledge of daily earnings is supplemented by information on employment and earnings over a longer period of time. It has been estimated that there are about 100,000 qualified men who may seek work in the American merchant marine in any given year. In early 1957, the industry (including segments not covered in this study) provided approximately 60,000 oceangoing jobs. This does not mean that there were 40,000 men looking for work at that time. Ocean voyages are generally long and confining and, following a well-established custom, many seamen leave their ships at the termination of a voyage to take vacations or temporary shoreside jobs. Also, some require hospitalization. Another group
• Under Title IV of the Merchant Marine Act of 1936 as amended, the United States Government, upon approval of application for subsidy, pays no more than the excess of the cost of operating an American flag ship in competition to vessels of a foreign country. Less than 30 percent of the active vessels were operating in a subsidized status at the time of the survey.
• The union hiring hall became the major source of labor supply for the industry in the late 1930's. For a history of hiring practices and collective bargaining in the industry, see Joseph P. Goldberg, The Maritime Story (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1958).
10 The major seamen's organization and the positions they represent are: Masters, Mates and Pilots (MMP)-about 5,000 deck positions, all coasts; Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association (MEBA)--about 5,500 engineering positions, all coasts; Brotherhood of Marine Officers (BMO)-about 600 deck and engineering positions on Atlantic Coast; American Radio Association (ARA)-about 600 radio positions on all coasts; Radio Officers Union (ROUan affiliate of the Commercial Telegraphers Union)-about 400 radio positions on all coasts; National Maritime Union of America (NMU)-about 24,000 unlicensed positions on Atlantic and Gulf Coasts; American Merchant Marine Staff Officers Association (AMMSOA-an affiliate of NMU)-about 150 purser positions, primarily on West Coast; Seafarers' International Union (SIU): (1) Atlantic and Gulf District-about 8,500 unlicensed positions on Atlantic and Gulf Coasts; (2) Staff Officers' Association of America (SOAan SIU affiliate)--about 220 purser positions on Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, and (3) three other SIU affiliates which represent about 10,000 unlicensed positions on West Coast, namely Sailors' Union of the Pacific (SUP)-primarily deck seamen, Marine Firemen, Oilers, Watertenders and Wipers Association (MFOW)-engine department seamen, and Marine Cooks and Stewards Union (MCS)-stewards department.
study. The analysis is necessarily limited to seagoing employment and earnings only. Employment was studied from July 1956 through June 1957, a relatively active period for American flag ships. Maritime Administration reports indicate that the number of active vessels as of June 1957 exceeded the number for the 3 preceding years and was 23 percent above the figure for June 1958.
Average days worked may correlate less closely with volume of activity than might be expected. When employment is rising and more man-days of work are available, additional men may enter or return to the industry and those in the industry can work more days during the year. Industry spokesmen reported, however, that when jobs are plentiful seamen take more frequent leave without pay, knowing that job opportunities will be available when they desire to ship out. When shipping is scarce, the seamen aboard ships are hesitant to leave their jobs.11
11 Since the time of the study, unemployment in the industry has led some of the unions to revise their shipping rules to require that men leave a ship at the first opportunity after so many days of continuous work, e. 8., 180 or 210 days, in order to spread work among a greater number of members.
TABLE 2. Average days of employment of selected ratings in the United States merchant marine, by employment status and
primary coast of employment, July 1, 1956–June 30, 1957
During the course of the present study, it was observed that many seamen who had left the industry shortly after World War II were returning for varying periods of time. This situation was also suggested by the substantial difference between the number of seamen who had worked sometime during the year (85,541) and the much smaller number (64,583), classified as "industry connected,” that had been employed not only during the survey year but also at some time during the 6 months preceding July 1, 1956, and during the 6 months following June 30, 1957 (i. e., before, during, and after the survey year).
As table 2 shows, “industry connected” seamen averaged 243 days of employment during the 12-month period studied. Over a twelfth worked less than 120 days and nearly a third worked less than 210 days; more than a fourth worked more than 300 days during the year. This study verified the common belief that licensed officers more frequently stay with the same employer and have fewer periods of unemployment between voyages than unlicensed seamen. During the period studied, however, the difference was surprisingly small-only 19 days.
The average industry-connected seaman sailed on about 7 voyages of 10 or more days during the year.12 These voyages were generally on 2 or 3 vessels owned by 2 different companies. Licensed officers did not change ships or companies as frequently as unlicensed seamen.
Because the year of employment studied was one of the peak peacetime years for shipping, many seamen who were available for work during the whole year were able to secure all the work they wanted. The average licensed officer, in fact, was employed for as many or more days as the fully employed shoi eside worker on a 5-day
week. If earned vacation time, which is not included in the employment or earnings estimates in the study, is added to the average employment of unlicensed seamen, they also would have had, on the average, total employment almost equal to a fully employed 5-day-week shoreside worker. The average unlicensed seamen would bave earned 9 days' vacation at base pay for his 239 days of employment.13
Industry-connected officers averaged 258 days of employment during the year of study. The higher ratings had the highest number of days of employment, with masters, chief mates, and chief engineers all averaging about 275 days. Fourth mates and junior 3d or 4th assistant engineers averaged 235 days. Generally, about 80 percent or more of the licensed officers in the higher ratings were considered industry connected. In the lower ratings, such as junior engineers and fourth mates, the proportion dropped to about two-thirds. Licensed officers frequently changed coasts of employment, and there was no significant difference between coasts in the average days of employment.
One out of six industry-connected officers worked less than 180 days during the 12-month period. In some cases, these men were in the hospital for varying periods, but a larger number evidently had taken seasonal shoreside employment and were not available for sea duty at certain periods during the year.
12 The source records showing days of employment did not differentiate between actual voyages and short-term employment such as port payrolls or relief work. To eliminate those entries which were presumably not actual voyages, entries of less than 10 days were not counted.
13 The amount of vacation pay was generally 14 days after 360 days of employment, but it was greater if the seaman was employed by one company for a whole year. Seamen's vacation benefits are computed on base pay only and daily benefits are therefore equal to about two-thirds of their average daily earnings.
TABLE 3. Average annual earnings of six selected ratings in the United States merchant marine, by employment status and
primary coast of employment, July 1, 1956-June 30, 1957
One-fifth of the officers worked at some point during the survey year but neither immediately before nor after that year. The average number of days for all officers who worked any time du ing the year was 233 days. Averages by rating ranged from 259 days for chief engineers down to 198 days for fourth mates.
Five percent of the licensed officers worked during only 1 quarter of the year, 10 percent worked 2 quarters, and 13 percent worked 3 quarters. Seventy-two percent worked some time in each of the quarters, averaging 276 days of work. These ratios were almost the same for both the deck and engineer department officers. Comparisons among ratings indicate that both the proportions of seamen employed in each of the four quarters and the average number of days worked were highest in the higher iatings. Nearly 80 percent of the chief mates and chief engineers worked some time in each of the 4 quarters and averaged 287 and 289 days of employment respectively.
Unlicensed seamen classified as industry connected (three-fourths of the total) averaged 239 days of employment a year. As in the case of licensed personnel, the higher ratings had the higher average employment. In the deck department, highest average employment (250 days) was recorded for bosuns. Over half of the deck department seamen spent most of their time as able-bodied seamen and averaged 240 days of employment in the year. In the engine department, electricians bad the highest average employment, 257 days; oilers, the largest group, were second highest with an average of 244 days.
Chief stewards had the highest average employment of any of the unlicensed ratings, averaging 273 days. Passenger chefs averaged almost as many days and most of the passenger ratings studied had higher annual employment than those working on cargo vessels. Messmen, the largest
group in the department, averaged 229 days. The lowest average employment (219 days) was for assistant cooks on dry-cargo vessels or tankers. Over a fourth of the unlicensed seamen that were considered industry connected worked 300 or more days a year; over a fifth, however, had total employment of less than 180 days.
The average for all unlicensed seamen, both industry connected and those not so classified, was 207 days, ranging from about 260 days for chief stewards and chefs on passenger ships to approximately 180 days for ordinary seamen and wipers.
About 9 percent of the unlicensed seamen worked in only 1 quarter of the year, 11 percent worked some time during 2 quarters of the year, 15 percent during 3 different quarters, and about 65 percent had some employment in all 4 quarters. The last group averaged 261 days of employment. In some of the lower ratings, little more than half of the seamen worked in all four quarters of the year.
Unlicensed seamen, unlike officers, did not frequently change their coast of employment. Nearly 80 percent of the industry-connected seamen were working out of Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports; they averaged 7 percent more days of employment than those on the West Coast. The higher level of employment on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts was noted in nearly all ratings. The Atlantic and Gulf Coasts also had a higher proportion of seamen working some time during all 4 quarters of the year, 70 percent as compared with 60 percent on the West Coast.
1* Although average annual earnings can be estimated from the average daily earnings and average number of days worked during the year, the product would not reflect secondary employment at other ratings or possible seasonal differences in daily earnings. (The total earnings of individual spomen were classified, as in the study of annual employment, in the rating in which they worked a majority of the time.) Also, distributions of seamen by annual earnings cannot be developed from data on daily earnings and annual employment.
15 Any vacation pay received from vacation funds was not included in the study, because payments from vacation funds could not be related to time worked during the particular time period studied.
In a few cases, the original data were found to be incomplete and the net result of additions due to previously unieported employment would have increased the annual employment estimates by an average of 0.8 percent.
Annual Earnings. Total earnings from seagoing employment during the 12-month period studied were obtained for individual seamen in 6 numerically important ratings—2 licensed and 4 unlicensed.14 Two ratings were selected from each of the departments. Earnings information was obtained from employers, as identified in the vacation funds, for voyages listed and for any other maritime employment that occurred in the period studied.15
Percentage differences in earnings among ratings were substantially greater on an annual than on a daily basis. Differences in daily earnings and average number of days of employment, from one rating to the next higher or lower rating, did not appear to be large. However, the combined