Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association
|Full name||Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association, AFL-CIO|
|Founded||February 23, 1875|
|Head union||H. Marshall Ainley|
H. Marshall Ainley, PresidentBill Van Loo, Secretary-Treasurer
|Office location||Washington, D.C.|
The Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A.) is the oldest maritime trade union in the United States still currently in existence, established in 1875. M.E.B.A. primarily represents licensed mariners, especially deck and engine officers working in the United States Merchant Marine aboard U.S.-flagged vessels. It is a member union of the AFL–CIO.
M.E.B.A. officers work in both the oceans and the Great Lakes in many settings, including on container ships, tankers (including LNG carriers), cruise ships, drillships, tugboats and ferries, as well as in various capacities in the shoreside ship transport and marine industries and on government-contracted ships of the U.S. Maritime Administration's Ready Reserve Force and U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command. Merchant mariners deliver critical defense cargo to United States armed forces in times of military conflict.
Members and their families benefit from M.E.B.A.'s collective bargaining agreements through the union's Medical Plan, 401(k) Plan, Pension Trust, and Vacation Plan. The M.E.B.A. Training Plan provides further technical training at the Calhoon M.E.B.A. Engineering School in Easton, Maryland.
The nation's oldest maritime union was formed out of necessity in the late 19th century. Steamship owners on the Mississippi and Great Lakes were competing with one another and demanding greater speeds from their vessels. This increase in speed greatly reduced safety in the engine room due to fires and boiler explosions. Even with increased risk, the wages remained the same.
In 1874, the Buffalo Association of Engineers began corresponding with other marine engineer associations around the country. In February 1875, the leaders of five steamship unions out of Buffalo, New York, Cleveland, Ohio, Detroit, Michigan, Chicago, Illinois and Baltimore, Maryland, convened in Cleveland, Ohio to join together. This organization called itself the National Marine Engineers Association and chose Garret Douw of Buffalo as its president. (The word Beneficial was not added until 1883.)
M.E.B.A.'s membership, like that of all American maritime unions has varied widely over the years. At the end of World War I, they had more than 22,000 members, but by 1934, their membership was down to 4,848. Membership ballooned during World War II, with job opportunities for about 200,000 seamen.
- 1875 : Garret Douw
- 1876-1881 : Abner L. Foote
- 1881 : Thomas H. Nelson
- 1882 : Edward D. Bateman
- 1883 : James H. Reid
- 1884 : William E. Russell
- 1885 : Andrew Ritter
- 1886 : Andrew Payne
- 1887-1888 : Aspinwall Fuller
- 1889 : Ambrose L. Boyce
- 1890-1892 : John H. Galway
- 1893-1903 : George Uhler
- 1904- 1906 : Frank A. Jones
- 1907-1914 : William F. Yates
- 1915-1916 : A. Bruce Gibson
- 1917-1926 : William S. Brown
- 1926-1930 : William F. Yates
- 1930-1934 : C.M. Sheplar
- 1935-1936 : William S. Brown
- 1937-1949 : Samuel J. Hogan
- 1950-1959 : Herbert L. Daggett
- 1960-1963 : E.N. Altman
- 1963-1984 : Jesse M. Calhoon
- 1985-1992 : C.E. (Gene) DeFries
- 1992-1994 : Gordon Ward
- 1995 : Joel Bem
- 1996-1998 : Alex Shandrowsky
- 1999-2001 : Larry O'Toole
- 2002-2007 : Ron Davis
- 2008—2010 : Don Keefe
- 2011—2013 : Mike Jewell
- 2014— : H. Marshall Ainley
- International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots
- Seafarers International Union of North America
- National Maritime Union
- The Maritime Trades Department AFL-CIO
- United States Merchant Marine
- United States Maritime Administration
- American Bureau of Shipping
- International Maritime Organization
- "MEBA Plans". Retrieved July 16, 2013.
- Author Unknown (1975). Worthy of Our Heritage, A Brief History of America’s Oldest Maritime Union, A Centennial Anniversary Publication of the National Marine Engineers Beneficial Association AFL-CIO, 1875-1975. New York, New York: Maurer Fleisher Zon & Anderson, Inc. Washington, DC.
- Author Unknown (1975). Worthy of Our Heritage, A Brief History of America’s Oldest Maritime Union, A Centennial Anniversary Publication of the National Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association AFL-CIO, 1875-1975. New York, New York: Maurer Fleisher Zon & Anderson, Inc. Washington, DC. p. 39.
- M.E.B.A. Website
- M.E.B.A. Plans
- Marine Engineers, from the Waterfront Workers History Project
- Calhoon M.E.B.A. Engineering School
- State Maritime Academies
- Election contributions at OpenSecrets
- M.E.B.A. on Facebook
- The National Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association Records, 1926-1939. 10 cubic feet. At the Labor Archives of Washington State, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections.