New Book Chronicles SIU History

September 2010

Back to Issue

America's SeafarersThe SIU is pleased to announce the publication of "America's Seafarers," a book that examines the union’s history to the present day, including key events leading to its founding in 1938.


The 271-page hardcover book authored by Ray Denison and Philip Ross covers the history of early attempts at union organizing among maritime workers that preceded the SIU’s start. The book charts the union’s struggles and growth through the final years of the Great Depression, its role in World War II with its heavy loss of SIU-crewed ships, to its post-war campaigns for decent working conditions and wages while undertaking organizing drives. Included are details of the historic struggles to win recognition in the Isthmian and Cities Service fleets.


Also included in the book are details about the fight to maintain cargo preference laws for U.S.-flag vessels while battling the exodus of American ships to runaway flags. “America’s Seafarers” also reviews the establishment of SIU vacation, health and scholarship programs and the creation of the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education in Piney Point, Md.


Other chapters focus on the containership revolution, the SIU’s role in the first and second Gulf Wars as well as its hard-fought battles in the Congress to defend the Jones Act and to bring about the creation of the Maritime Security Program.


The book, which sells for $14.99, contains photos and a timeline of events, and is available at the SIU’s online Slop Chest, located at Additionally, the book is available at the Sea Chest store located at the Paul Hall Center in Piney Point.


A former Seafarers LOG editor and AFL-CIO legislative director, Denison approached the union more than two years ago with the idea of putting together a comprehensive account of the SIU’s history. He described the project as “a labor of love,” and said the finished product is a fitting tribute to an organization that remains close to his heart.


“I truly believe there is a need for this book to honor those whose vision and dedication made the union a success and who have played a vital role in preserving the American Merchant Marine,” said Denison, who also served as administrator of the SIU’s Great Lakes District. “However, it would not have happened without the total supportiveness of the union as well as that of the Paul Hall Center.”


“America’s Seafarers” was published by union-contracted Mosaic, based in Cheverly, Md.

Share |