President's Report

Seafarers Log, December 2010

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Michael Sacco, PresidentThanking Supporters and Looking Ahead
Last month, I promised that no matter what happened on Election Day, the SIU would waste no time in advocating for our union and our industry to new officeholders and their staffs, not just in the nation’s capital but all across the country.


As of this writing, some three weeks after the elections, I can say the SIU indeed has lived up to that promise. We are already promoting you, the rank-and-file membership, and the overall importance of maintaining a strong U.S. Merchant Marine. We will continue doing so.


But before 2011 arrives, I must salute on behalf of the SIU the combined decades of outstanding work of three true champions of our industry who unfortunately weren’t reelected. Congressmen Jim Oberstar, Ike Skelton and Gene Taylor served the public with diligence and integrity. They remain great friends of the SIU, and I simply cannot say enough to thank them for standing up for American mariners throughout the years.


Fortunately, despite some tough losses for our industry, a large number of pro-maritime, pro-worker legislators from both parties will be returning to office. We will work with them and with the dozens of new members of Congress to do everything possible to promote and protect the U.S. Merchant Marine.


Social Security
One of many topics addressed in exit polls was the public’s opinion on Social Security. I think it’s worth pointing out that voters overwhelmingly are against privatizing Social Security and raising the Social Security retirement age.


The AFL-CIO put it best: Social Security is strong and should be strengthened, not cut. The biggest threat to Social Security is the representatives in Washington who continue to play politics with this issue.


In fact, in some ways the misinformation in the news media about this benefit reminds me of recent attacks on the Jones Act. Critics won’t let facts get in the way on either issue.


The bottom line is that the most recent report by the Social Security Board of Trustees clearly shows Social Security remains in strong shape for the long term. This is something that affects all Americans and it’s a subject the labor movement will stay on top of.


Happy – and Safe – Holidays
This edition of the LOG went to press right before Thanksgiving. With the winter holidays and the end of another year upon us, I offer my best wishes to all Seafarers and their families for a happy, healthy and, above all, safe holiday season. Whether you’re on the beach or aboard ship or retired, may you enjoy the blessings of the season.


Also, to our members who are sailing in support of our troops, I extend a heartfelt thank you and I salute your fine work. You are upholding our proud tradition of serving as part of the nation’s fourth arm of defense. You all have my utmost confidence and respect, as do our men and women in the armed forces, and I wish all of you a speedy, safe return home.

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