Augustin “Augie” Tellez, Executive Vice President
Augustin “Augie” Tellez is the executive vice president of the Seafarers International Union. He was appointed to that position in November 2005.
Previously, he served as the union’s vice president of contracts and contracts enforcement from 1991-2005. In that post, he managed the SIU’s collective bargaining and contract implementation efforts throughout all segments of the industry, including deep sea, Great Lakes, inland and passenger vessels.
Tellez was appointed as vice president in 1991 by the SIU executive board. He was elected to a full term by the union’s membership in 1992 and has been reelected every four years thereafter.
He also serves as a trustee for the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education – a world-class, comprehensive vocational education institution located in Piney Point, Md. Additionally, Tellez chairs the Paul Hall Center’s advisory board, composed of high-ranking industry representatives from labor, management and government.
Serving under the administration of SIU President Michael Sacco, Tellez has helped lead the union to numerous contractual gains and improved benefits for SIU members and their families.
As a Paul Hall Center trustee and advisory board chairman, he has helped spearhead the construction of two new, unsurpassed additions at the school designed to promote shipboard safety: the Joseph Sacco Fire Fighting and Safety School, which opened in 1999 and specifically is tailored for marine fire fighting training; and a state-of-the-art simulator building that houses top-notch simulators for shiphandling, engine room operations, liquid cargo procedures, crane operations and more. The latter opened in October 2000.
Tellez also worked closely with the development team that put together the union’s Coast Guard-accepted training record book – a groundbreaking document first published in 1997 that is designed to help both individual SIU members and SIU-contracted companies comply with complex international maritime regulations.
Since July 2011, he has served on the U.S. Transportation Department’s Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council. In 2017, he was appointed to serve on the federal U.S. Maritime Workforce Working Group Subcommittee, which is part of the council. The subcommittee is tasked with examining and assessing the size of the pool of United States citizen mariners necessary to support the U.S.-flag fleet in times of national emergency.
Tellez worked his way up through the ranks, starting with the SIU in 1975 after graduating from the entry program at the Paul Hall Center’s Lundeberg School of Seamanship. He sailed from the union’s Brooklyn, N.Y. hiring hall as an able bodied seaman before coming ashore.
He served the union in various capacities in Jacksonville, Fla.; Mobile, Ala.; Tampa; Paducah, Ky.; Baltimore; St. Louis; and Houston. In 1980, he became the port agent for the SIU’s headquarters port, located in Brooklyn.
Tellez in 1987 relocated to what had become the union’s new headquarters in Camp Springs, Md., where he served as special assistant to the president. That same year, he was elected as the vice president for the Seafarers International Union of North America – the parent union of the SIU’s seagoing component. A year later, he became the assistant vice president for contracts and contracts enforcement.