(L-R): Glen Delano, Omar Alemon, Hurston Harcum (chief shop steward), Jason Jones, with Instructor JC Wiegman; photo by Ken Pinkard

In 2012, the U.S. Coast Guard passed a law directly affecting Local 400 members working as fisherman at Omega Protein. It required all engineers on vessels to have a license to operate them by 2014. Local 400 stepped in to keep our members working, forging a partnership with management and the Seafarers’ Union to ensure all affected members have the appropriate licenses. “Thanks to the great relationship the Local 400 leadership has with Omega Protein and the Seafarers union our chief and second engineers were able to get their licenses at no expense,” said Hurston Harcum, chief shop steward at Omega Protein. Omega Protein is funding the course work for all 14 of the chief and second engineers to get licensed. The engineers have been attending the U.S. Coast Guard approved courses at the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education located in Piney Point, Md. The courses cover a wide range of trainings, which include engine operations, maintenance and technology, as well as fire fighting and safety. On average it takes the engineers approximately two years to complete the necessary courses to attain a license because they are taking the courses during their December-May off-season.