Nicholas Celona is a lifelong Seafarer who began serving as vice president of the SIU Government Services Division in 2021.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Celona graduated from Lafayette High School in 1976 and soon thereafter found a home with the SIU. After completing the trainee program in 1977 (class 229), he sailed in the engine department until 1982, upgrading several times along the way (most recently to chief electrician). He sailed on vessels operated by Sea-Land, Maritime Overseas, Delta Line, American Hawaii Cruises, Bay Tankers and others.
Celona worked as a patrolman in New Orleans from 1983-88 and was involved in multiple inland beefs. He spent 1989 serving as the port agent in Piney Point before what turned out to be a long-term move to the West Coast. Celona was the union’s San Francisco port agent from 1990-94; he became an assistant vice president in 1994.
Among other activities, he served as a delegate on the San Francisco-Alameda Labor Council, secretary-treasurer of the local port council, and as a governor-appointed member of the board of directors of the Cow Palace (a popular, multi-purpose arena in Daly City, California).
Always politically active, Celona organized the union’s annual Thanksgiving gatherings in San Francisco and Oakland, which ran for 29 straight years before temporarily being derailed due to the pandemic. Those feasts evolved into a Who’s Who of politics, with regular appearances from Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, John Garamendi, Eric Swalwell, Jackie Spier and many others.
Based on his extensive work with the military, Celona in 2002 was sworn in as an honorary U.S. Marine, a rarity.
He and his wife live in New Orleans. They have two adult daughters.