President's Column

 

June 2016

 

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SIU President Michael Sacco discusses this year’s Seafarers Waterfront Classic, plus the importance of grassroots action

 

For the fourth straight year, the SIU and our affiliated school in Piney Point, Maryland, were proud to host the Seafarers Waterfront Classic, benefiting both the Wounded Warrior Anglers of America and the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education. It’s a great
event that brings together Seafarers, military veterans, representatives of SIU-contracted companies and many other friends and colleagues.


Check out our coverage elsewhere in this edition, and if you missed the online posts, go on Facebook and search for 2016 Seafarers Waterfront Classic. The photos from the event page give a good sense of the camaraderie enjoyed throughout the day, as well as the strong attendance.


In many ways, this gathering captures the mutual respect that exists between SIU members
and the men and women of our armed forces, plus our veterans. That’s a bond that goes back three quarters of a century – and one that will endure for many, many years to come.


I completely understand that as Seafarers help uphold the U.S. Merchant Marine’s vital role as America’s fourth arm of defense, what matters is delivering the goods wherever and whenever needed. In some cases it also may mean transporting the troops themselves. But it’s a bonus to know that our members have a commitment to backing our military which runs much deeper than simply wanting to wrap up a voyage efficiently. Our hearts are in those missions. We know the military depends on us, and that’s a commitment we treat with utmost dedication.


On the heels of National Maritime Day (check the SIU website and next month’s edition of the LOG for coverage), I salute all of our SIU brothers and sisters who’ve supported our troops throughout the years. Like the merchant marine song says, “Give us the goods and we’ll deliver.”


Register and Vote


It’s not too soon to make sure you’re registered to vote on Election Day, or even before then by absentee ballot. Check out the brief on page 5 of this issue or ask your port agent how to get started.


Our union has a long record of supporting pro-maritime, pro-worker candidates at every level of government, regardless of political party. That’ll never change.


I’ve already touched on this topic earlier in the year and probably will hit it again more than once between now and November, but be fully assured the union does our homework very thoroughly before throwing our support behind any candidate. We also respect each individual’s right to back the candidate of his or her choice. My personal view is that it makes the most sense to support the candidates who will support both the U.S. Merchant Marine and the rest of America’s working families.


In that spirit, you may know that the SIU very early this year endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. I understand that any such endorsement is going to bring out strong emotions, and again I respect people’s right to an opinion. But for anyone who didn’t read the letter
from Secretary Clinton outlining her detailed backing of our industry, take a few minutes and either look it up on our website or read it in the February issue of the LOG. Copies of the letter also are available at all of our union halls. If you can find anything wrong with that letter, let me know. It’s as strong and thorough a declaration of support for the U.S. Merchant Marine as I’ve ever read from any candidate.


Lastly, this is also an election year for us in the SIU. Your vote counts, so make sure you exercise your right to cast a ballot. As usual, we’ll publish eligibility rules and voting procedures in the coming months. In fact, we’ve already got a brief covering absentee ballot instructions this month. This is especially useful for our brothers and sisters
who plan to be at sea from November through the end of the year.

 

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