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MERCHANT MARINE OFFICERS UNION TO PICKET NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS; MEMBERS TELL UNION BOSS, C. E. DEFRIES, 'HANDS OFF'

 MERCHANT MARINE OFFICERS UNION TO PICKET NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS;
 MEMBERS TELL UNION BOSS, C. E. DEFRIES, 'HANDS OFF'
 WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Members of the nation's oldest maritime union are picketing today at 444 N. Capitol St NW, headquarters location of the National Marine Engineers Beneficial Association. On Jan. 15, the merchant marine officers -- who comprise one of the union's component organizations -- voted by a margin of 95 percent to dissolve a 1988 merger with the National Maritime Union.
 Today, the mariners are assembling to focus attention on the corruption that has scarred their organization. Recently, stories in the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun, and Norfolk Ledger-Star have described the efforts by the rank-and-file to gain control of their union. The papers reported that the FBI and the Department of Labor are investigating allegations of widespread ballot fraud in a 1988 referendum which approved the now -- dissolved merger with the NMU.
 The focus of the members ire is Clayton Eugene DeFries, who still claims the presidency of the union despite having taken nearly $2.5 million in severance pay and pension by-outs while continuing to collect a $300,000 annual salary. In recent press releases, DeFries has announced that he was suspending a wide range of the union members rights, but the rank-and-file have ignored the edicts. This is the first time a union membership has ever risen in such near unanimity against its leadership according to a source within the Department of Labor.
 -0- 1/29/92
 /CONTACT: Mark Zalenski of District No. 1 - Pacific Coast District, Meba (AFL-CIO), 410-530-3744/ CO: District No. 1 - Pacific Coast District, Meba (AFL-CIO) ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


PS -- NY103 -- 5022 01/29/92 21:40 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 29, 1992
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