President's Column


November 2014


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SIU President Michael Sacco talks about the new union hall in Jersey City and the SIU’s consistent progress


Good Move for the SIU

I appreciated the opportunity in early October to spend time with Seafarers at our new hall in Jersey City, New Jersey. Whether chatting with old friends or meeting other members for the first time, it was a great reminder of why the SIU fights every single day to protect the U.S. Merchant Marine. We are all about jobs and improving our members’ livelihoods. We are all about serving as America’s fourth arm of defense.


Both the membership meeting and the hall’s ceremonial opening on October 7 made for a good day. The Brotherhood of the Sea was very evident as we covered some business, caught up with each other and broke bread together after the ceremony.


The facility itself is first class, and it’s a sign of progress for our union. It’s an example of how we’re always working to improve. The comments I’ve heard most often are that the new hall is in a better area, it’s very clean, and the separation of the membership lounge is a hit. I agree with those points and on a personal note I would add that it doesn’t hurt to have a church right across the street.


We all understand that people usually don’t like change. Moving is a pain, whether it’s from one apartment to another, or one house to another, or one hall to another. Heck, getting a new car or a new cell phone is a pain. It’s exciting, but you have to re-learn everything, and it takes time.


So I definitely recognize the growing pains associated with the Jersey City move, but the key word here is “growing.” We aren’t sitting around hoping something good will happen. We’re improving our facilities there and in Houston, as you probably have heard. We’re going to do the same thing in Puerto Rico.


And under this administration, over the years, we’ve upgraded our halls in New Orleans, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Oakland and Tacoma. We opened brand new halls in Fort Lauderdale and Anchorage and Joliet. We refurbished our halls in Wilmington and Norfolk and Algonac.


The main reason we’re able to keep moving forward is because of you, the rank-and-file members. The outstanding work you do aboard the ships and tugs and ferries, your reliability as America’s fourth arm of defense, the strong support you’ve always given to this administration, and your consistent willingness to be politically active are all key parts of the SIU’s success.


So, when you visit or read about the Jersey City hall, and when you read about new jobs in the LOG or on our website, and when you see new buildings going up at our school in Piney Point it’s a credit to you and a reflection on our entire team, including our officials and staff.


We’re a winning team. We’ve been a winning team for 76 years. Whether it’s looking at new property for a union hall, or deciding which political candidate to back, or working with one of our contracted operators to help ensure their success, or making improvements at our school, we always have a game plan, and we’re not afraid to take chances.


As we wind down another year, I remain fully confident in the SIU and fully committed to our ongoing progress. The Jersey City hall is just the latest example of what we can accomplish by working together and keeping a steady hand at the wheel.


Happy Holidays

To all of our members and retirees who are military veterans, and to all the other men and women who’ve served in our great nation’s armed forces, I salute you and wish you the best on Veterans’ Day. My own service in the Air Force occurred many years ago, but I remain proud to have worn the uniform.


Whether you’re at sea or ashore, I also wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the holiday and above all, be safe.

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