SIU Helps Make ‘Sail-In’ Successful (5/14)

 

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More than 150 members of the maritime industry, including eight SIU and Maritime Trades Department (MTD) officials and staff, took to the halls of Congress to advocate for the U.S.-flag industry May 9. The third annual “Sail-In” emphasized the importance of maintaining a strong U.S.-flag merchant marine as participants visited the offices of dozens of congresspersons and senators in the Cannon, Longworth, and Rayburn House office buildings and the Russell Senate office building.

 

“The Sail-In is the one time of the year that nearly every segment of the maritime industry comes together to brief Congress on how we make the United States stronger and safer,” said James Henry, chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Maritime Partnership (AMP), an industry group that is made up of a variety of maritime organizations including the SIU. “Working together as one, maritime personnel from the Great Lakes, inland rivers, deep seas and beyond help boost America’s national and homeland security while promoting much-needed job growth here at home.”

 

SIU Executive Vice President Augie Tellez, Vice President Atlantic Coast Joseph Soresi, Vice President West Coast Nick Marrone, Vice President Lakes and Inland Waters Tom Orzechowski, Vice President Government Services Kermett Mangram, Vice President Gulf Coast Dean Corgey, MTD Executive Secretary-Treasurer Daniel Duncan and SIU Political Director Brian Schoeneman were on board, visiting various congressional representatives and their staffs and representing the SIU membership and maritime labor at large.

 

In addition to representatives from maritime labor, the event brought together participants from virtually every sector of the maritime industry. On hand were shipowners, operators, and rank-and-file workers. All of the people involved have a stake in making sure that the U.S.-flag fleet has friends on Capitol Hill.

 

A major point of the day was to thank elected officials for their past support and to encourage their continued backing of major maritime-related issues, including the Jones Act, Maritime Security Program, cargo preference, proper allocation of Harbor Maintenance Tax funds, and other issues that directly affect American maritime workers. Equally important was the effort to contact newer members of Congress who may be less familiar with the maritime industry.

 

SIU officials pointed out that maritime issues not only affect workers in the industry but also play a huge role in our economic recovery and national security.

 

The Sail-In comes on the heels of a major report released by the Navy League of the United States titled, “Maritime Industry: The Foundation of American Seapower.” The study sums up the numerous benefits of the U.S.-flag fleet, including the more than 500,000 jobs that are associated with the domestic industry alone.

 

“The industry provides jobs for hundreds of thousands of Americans in every corner of our nation,” the report said. “The American maritime industry moves cargo and troops around the world in far greater volume, with far greater efficiency, than any other transportation mode.”

 

 

The reception of the groups was overwhelmingly positive, with longtime friends of the industry being thanked for their continued support and new friends eager to be kept abreast of issues, laws, and positions that are favorable to the merchant marine and American workers.

 

In a related event, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) on May 8 received the prestigious “Salute to Congress” award during an annual dinner in suburban D.C.

 

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