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-   -   Another new company...new set of rules...(again) (http://www.steamboats.org/forum/river-talk-cruises/1004-another-new-company-new-set-rules-again.html)

Agatha Skagg 02-11-2007 07:29 AM

Another new company...new set of rules...(again)
 
I for one am so tired of these boats being sold and re-sold over and over again, as a former crew member on AQ, MQ and DQ, over the years I've seen my benefits slowly go away, with every re-sale of these boats comes a new set of rules.
Crew on these boats really give up a major part of there own lives to do this sort of work, yet every year and every re-sale, les and less is givin to us in return for years of loyalty and hard work.
This year I've been informed that there will be no alcohol allowed for officers, crew, and entertainers on the boats..none. Even if a passenger offered to buy us a drink , we are to say.."I'm sorry, thats not allowed."
We are all adults on these boats, if there is a problem, deal with the problem and treat everyone with just a little respect. I don't think I can return for more of these rules that treat us all like children.
No wonder MAL is having real difficulties staffing for 2007, when will the new owners realize that if you treat your people good, more good will follow?
Thanks for letting me vent. Agatha.

Bruno Krause 02-11-2007 11:10 AM

Hey there Agatha,
Do I understand you to mean that the crew is now not allowed to consume alcohol ON the boats, doesn't mean a passenger couldn't buy a crewmember a drink off the boat, does it? Plus, how would the company enforce this policy...hiring Beer Police? I agree, talk about treating the crew like kids...and buying the crew drinks is one of the ways we passengers get to know and thank the crew. Seems a little paranoid to me...

How will this work during Captain's reception and dinner? hmmm.

Say howdy to your house mate for Deb and me.

Bruno

David Dewey 02-11-2007 11:35 AM

Agatha, I really feel what you are saying--I blame it on "modern" college-trained management who have never been "in the trenches" and think that employees are pegs you can pull and plug to fit whatever whim is today's latest management tool. There is no loyalty to either the workers or the company. I just lost a fellow co-worker "because the funding ran out" --although they have someone else in that position now, who hasn't a clue where we were in the grant funding. The city may lose a million dollars because the granters don't know this new person, and it shows a lack of stability. The scuttlebut is that they didn't want to add her to the PERS retirement. They just don't have a clue!!! AAAUGH--guess I'm venting too. I was so disgusted I went straight to the mayor, so my job may be gone too. At least I'm gonna ride the DQ soon!
Hang in there, this too must pass (like a kidney stone, but. . . )
Steamcerely,
David Dewey

Shipyard Sam 02-11-2007 02:20 PM

From the MAL Website's FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

• [I]Am I allowed to have an alcoholic drink while onboard?[/I]
No. Our company has a zero tolerance policy regarding the consumption of any alcoholic beverages during your employment on the vessel in accordance with U.S. Coast Guard guidelines. This includes while you are onshore during a break from work. This policy is put in place for the welfare of the vessel and the safety of passengers and crew on board in the event of an emergency.

Lance Larsen 02-11-2007 04:46 PM

Bruno, After you dig out from all the snow in upstate NY you and Deb may buy me and Becky unlimited drinks at the bar on our next mutual trip on the DQ. If you play your cards right, we might even spring for one round. Lance

Bruno Krause 02-11-2007 08:29 PM

Sam,
Thanks for the information. I have a question. As you understand the USCG regs, do they really say that YOU cannot drink off duty from the GV II? And does that apply to ALL crew members or just the navigation, engineering and master class. I'm not trying to stir up the pot here, I'm just trying to understand the true meaning of the regs. Is MAL embellishing just because they can?

And to my buddy Lance, fortunately the Krause's have been spared the onslaught of snow so duly reported by the media. I have to admit that it would be a [B]a cold day in you know where[/B](pun REALLY intended) before we ever moved to Oswego or Jefferson County, New York about 50 to 75 miles due East, and a little North. At the East end of Lake Ontario, in the winter, be dragons! The poor sods...eight [B]feet[/B] in seven days. Lordy! And though the media is going crazy about the snow over there, and trust me, it IS a bad year for the East end of the lake, every year is a bad year over there. It, the snow, just came down a little more intense/ a little faster this year. Reports of people using snowblowers on their roofs, old news, I've had to do that on some of the buildings I designed. Us? We have about 2 feet that came down over 6 weeks. The problem this year is that it hasn't got warm enough to melt any of it, since the first of the year. The icicles on our house are real killers. We have this lump of white that I THINK is my boat. But we have lots of wood and the woodburner is ticking quietly as I type. 74 toasty degrees inside, 21 outside, and I can hear the wind howling. Do you understand why we like brown water so much, why we always take a DQ cruise in March?

Me and Deb buy you and Becky unlimited rounds? You must be a-sleep, my friend, 'cause you're dreamin'. I suspect that you two would jump at the chance to buy Deb and me all the rounds, considering that we're better lookin', tee hee. Your wife is pretty good looking, but the jury is out on you...

Looking forward to the day that you can buy me that round my friend...

Bruno

Barge Slinger 02-12-2007 01:48 AM

The Code of Federal Regulations states you can not operate a commercial vessel with a blood alcohol content greater than .04... That's half of what the fed/state regulations for highways, .08 for the operation of automobiles....

That's understandable for deck officer, I don't think anyone would argue with that. But the problem lies in the fact that for far too long, the steamboats have had person(s) exceeding that limitation that are crewmembers and ultimately the crewmembers are part of the station bill and as crewmembers they are effectively responsible for assisting the passengers in an emergency. Hence, the reason for zero tolerance.... The old company was always affraid to implement the policy caving to the speculation the boats would be hard to staff... In contrast the new company has stepped up and made an affirmative decision to move forward with zero tolerence, and for one I'm glad....

The boats carry breath alcohol anylizers, so determining those who don't understand zero will not be overly difficult...

Shipyard Sam 02-12-2007 12:05 PM

Coasties have This to Say...
 
Bruno and All:
The USCG has this to say concerning the consumption of alcoholic beverages:

TITLE 33--NAVIGATION AND NAVIGABLE WATERS
CHAPTER I, PART 95, OPERATING A VESSEL WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR A DANGEROUS DRUG.

Table of Contents
Sec. 95.045 General operating rules for vessels inspected, or subject
to inspection, under Chapter 33 of Title 46 United States Code.

[I]While on board a vessel inspected, or subject to inspection, under
Chapter 33 of Title 46 United States Code, a crewmember (including a licensed individual), pilot, or watch-stander not a regular member of the crew:
(a) Shall not perform or attempt to perform any scheduled duties
within four hours of consuming any alcohol;
(b) Shall not be intoxicated at any time;
(c) Shall not consume any intoxicant while on watch or duty; and
(d) May consume a legal non-prescription or prescription drug
provided the drug does not cause the individual to be intoxicated.[/I]

But what I am seeing here is a actually a company [I]policy[/I]. One big difference with my boat and those of MAL is that we do not live aboard ours. However, as our company does have very strict rules concerning our behavior while at work, we are also expected to conduct ourselves while off duty in such a way that it does not adversely affect the reputation of the company in a negative way. To do so, offenders will be held accountable for any indiscretions.

Our company policies, like MAL’s, are for all employees, and everyone must be treated equally regardless of rank, title, position, or duties. Anyone who accepts their paycheck must understand that they have to abide by their company’s rules, regulation, and policies. Though we have several very nice bars on our property, employees, at all levels, cannot drink alcoholic beverages on-property even when off duty. There is actually a rule that forbids employees from loitering 30-minutes before and after duty hours. So our rules are rigorous, too.

Some years ago, when I started back on the DELTA QUEEN after a stint in the Air Force, the boat was tied-up in the Industrial Canal at Dixie Machine Works in New Orleans where extensive repairs had been underway for some time. A couple of days before we were due to leave the shipyard, Captain Wagner let everyone know that he expected our hair to be cut and not extending below our shirt collars by sailing day. Long hair was a big deal back then, so I became upset at the skipper’s decree, and though I did not express my dissatisfaction to “Big Cap”, instead I turned to Roddy Hammett with whom I expected some sympathy and support. But much to my surprise and ultimate education, Rod simply said, [I]“If you are going to accept the pay, you have to accept the rules.” [/I]His wise counsel immediately made sense, for I wanted to work on the DELTA QUEEN more than anything else in the world; so I found a barber shop and that was that.

The same applies to the new drinking decree. From someone who has seen many problems caused by employee drinking on those and other boats, I can empathize with the MAL policy concerning the consumption of alcoholic beverages during the twenty-eight days, or so, employees are on duty on board their steamboats. That policy stipulates that all personnel must be ready to perform at their utmost best for the [I]"safety of passengers and crew on board in the event of an emergency,"[/I] and the company apparently decided that the consumption of demon rum, in any quantity, is not in keeping with that stipulation.

For those on the steamboats whose duties may include smoozing the passengers, there is nothing in the policy that I can interpret that forbids such employees from having a [I]"drink"[/I] as long as that drink contains [U]no[/U] alcohol. So those folks will have to get used to the taste of ginger ale instead of champagne, coke without the bourbon, and O'Doul's instead of a Miller Lite.

Now if only I could get the crew down at the Rabbit Hash Shipyard sobered up....

Bruno Krause 02-13-2007 11:50 AM

Thanks Sam,

Your post puts the issue in perspective. Of course, I hadn't thought deep enough to imagine all the various individuals that may be required to help me off the boat in an emergency...heaven forbid.

Bruno

Greg Weber 02-13-2007 12:47 PM

Another benefit of the new policy is that getting a seat at the bar in the Texas Lounge might not be as challenging an ordeal as in the past. There have been many times that I have witnessed as many as six crew members of various positions and rank ensconsed at that bar in the evening, making it difficult for a paying passenger to find a seat. I always wondered why that was tolerated.


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