Print  |  E-mail Article  |  Close Window   AMO Currents  -  Posted: March 18, 2020

AMO dues, initiation fee requirements suspended through first quarter

Direct membership dues payments in American Maritime Officers are suspended through March 31, the end of the first quarter of this calendar year, in further response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Fees paid directly by applicants for AMO membership are suspended as well for the same period.

No deep-sea, Great Lakes or inland waters AMO member or applicant will be alerted to dues deficiency or the potential loss of "good standing" during this period under Article V (Finances) Section 1(g) of the AMO Constitution during this coronavirus health emergency. Subsequent arrangements will be made with AMO members and applicants to meet their individual financial obligations to our union in responsible yet practical ways.

The intent is to minimize personal hardship for AMO members and applicants unable to return to work - or to return home from their vessels - because of travel or vessel operating restrictions imposed under the nationwide State of Emergency declared recently by the President. If an AMO member or applicant at this point must choose between paying a quarter's dues or initiation fee and making a mortgage payment, the mortgage payment takes priority.

Our union's financial state is sound enough to sustain this temporary relief option for AMO members and applicants. Anyone who is able to make payments without hardship is encouraged to do so.

In a related development, counsel to AMO and the trustees of the AMO Membership Assistance Program are considering amending the fund's charter to allow the possibility of direct grants to AMO members from the fund. As you know, the MAP is intended to assist AMO families who suffer damage to their primary residences resulting from natural disasters. Though it results in no damage to property, COVID-19 can certainly be considered a natural disaster.

However, the AMO Membership Assistance Program is a legitimate 501(c) 3 tax-exempt fund. Under federal law, receipts or other proof of need must support all claims for MAP grants. We will provide additional information as we can.

Meanwhile, AMO headquarters remains open, with officials in their jobs. AMO representatives and employees in Dania Beach and in Toledo are working from home through the end of the month. The AMO office in Washington, D.C. remains closed, but all AMO personnel are working from home.

All of these measures will be reassessed by April 1, and we will update all deep-sea, Great Lakes and inland waters AMO members and applicants through AMO Currents and membership emails as conditions warrant.

Thank you.

Paul Doell

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