New York/New Jersey MTD Port Maritime Council
Spotlights Maritime’s Future While Saluting Its Past

November 2011

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With an eye toward the past, the three honorees at the 50th anniversary dinner for the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department’s (MTD) Maritime Port Council of Greater New York/New Jersey and vicinity called for a strong U.S.-flag maritime industry to help push the country out of the current rough economic times.

MTD President Michael Sacco, who also serves as president of the SIU, received the Paul Hall Award of Merit, named in memory of the late MTD and SIU president. U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) was recognized as the port council’s Government Man of the Year. Retired MTD Executive Secretary- Treasurer Frank Pecquex was honored with the Joseph Sacco Lifetime Achievement Memorial Man of the Year Award. More than 500 people attended the Oct. 15 dinner in New York City.

Sacco stated how proud he was to receive the award that is named for the man who brought him ashore to work for the SIU.

“I’ll always be grateful for the chance Paul gave to me,” Sacco told the audience. “Never in my wildest dreams did I expect at that age that I’d be president of the SIU and the MTD, and now I’m receiving an award named after the man who gave me my start.”


The MTD president then went from looking at where he came from to where he sees the industry heading.

“We must carry the banner to educate and remind everyone from the president to the general public about the need for a strong maritime industry,” he stated. “We have to deliver the message that the United States needs American mariners and American ships to deliver vital supplies to our troops, grain to nations that are in trouble, and relief supplies like we did after the earthquake in Haiti.”


Sacco also addressed the current state of affairs by saying, “And we must help everyone realize that those people demonstrating down on Wall Street don’t want attention – they want JOBS! We, as a nation, need to wake up and realize we have the ability to employ them.”

Introducing Sacco at the dinner were SIU Executive Vice President (and MTD Board Member) Augie Tellez and Capt. Bob Johnston,senior vice president for OSG. Tellez praised Sacco’s leadership of the U.S.-flag maritime industry and the Seafarers. He also said he “could not have had a better teacher than Mike.” Speaking on behalf of the industry, Johnston stated when Sacco gives you his word, it’s solid.

Congressman Rangel thanked the port council for recognizing his years of work to support the maritime industry. “Creating jobs and supporting our maritime workers is so important, now more than ever. As we continue to look for ways to reduce unemployment, the maritime industry will play a major role in rebuilding our infrastructure and can put people to work right away,” he observed.

Rangel added he appreciated the way the maritime industry has stood by him, just as he has always fought for its interests.


The New York representative noted he was being called back to Washington by President Obama to attend the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. He used that announcement to reflect on how hectic life can be and to thank the spouses of those who work for unions. Those spouses understand the long hours spent away from family working not only on behalf of rankand- file members but all working families, he pointed out.

Port Council President Joseph Soresi, who also serves as vice president of the SIU’s Atlantic Coast region, saluted the congressman as a longtime champion of the U.S.-flag Merchant Marine and all working families. Soresi presented the award to Rangel. Courtney Pecquex stood in for her father, who was unable to attend the dinner. She read the remarks Frank had planned to offer.

In his introduction of Pecquex, SIU Secretary- Treasurer David Heindel noted Frank’s nearly 45 years of service to the MTD and SIU. Heindel said Pecquex’s “efforts behind the scenes have helped the lives of countless working families.”



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