The statement below was entered into the Congressional Record on May 25, the same day SIU Executive Vice President Augie Tellez received the prestigious Sons of Italy Foundation Humanitarian Award for 2023.
Photos of the awards dinner are posted on the SIU Facebook page HERE.
For a PDF copy of the statement from Congressman Hoyer, click HERE.
CONGRATULATING AUGUSTIN TELLEZ ON RECEIVING SONS OF ITALY FOUNDATION HUMANITARIAN AWARD
HON. STENY H. HOYER
In the House of Representatives
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Mr. HOYER: Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of my friend Augustin “Augie” Tellez, who is this year’s recipient of the Sons of Italy Foundation’s Humanitarian Award. From his leadership in organized labor to his pride in his Italian heritage, Augie truly deserves this honor –as well as the gratitude of many people across Maryland and America.
Serving as the Executive Vice President of the Seafarers International Union (SIU) since 2005, Augie has been an important voice for mariners, boatmen, and fishermen across North America. He has a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that people face in his industry. Augie’s tenure with SIU began when he graduated from the Paul Hall Center’s Lundeberg School of Seamanship down in Piney Point, Maryland, in 1975. After five years of serving the union in several posts across the country, he rose through the ranks to become port agent of SIU’s headquarters port and later special assistant to the union’s president. Trusting Augie’s good judgement and inspiring leadership, the SIU executive board appointed him to serve as the union’s vice president of contracts and contracts enforcement in 1991 – a position that union membership reelected him to the following year. He served in that role until 2005, overseeing all the union’s collective bargaining efforts. From helping develop the SIU’s training record book to overseeing contract implementation for the union, he has made invaluable contributions to the SIU and continues to do so as Executive Vice President. His work isn’t limited to the SIU, however.
Many government and industry leaders have sought out Augie’s expertise and insight. He has served on the U.S. Transportation Command’s Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement Executive Working Group (EWG) for over two decades, fostering closer cooperation between
the federal government and his industry to ensure that the U.S. military has access to vital commercial shipping resources in the event of an emergency deployment. Similarly, between 2011 and 2022, Augie served on the U.S. Transportation Department’s Marine Transportation
National Advisory Council. As chair of the council’s U.S. Maritime Workforce Working Group Subcommittee, he helped assess how the nation’s mariner workforce could support the American merchant fleet during national emergencies. Indeed, the recent COVID-19 pandemic reminded us
of the vital importance of maintaining strong supply chains, and Augie has played an important role in that effort.
I’ve also been grateful for all that Augie has done for our community in Southern Maryland. He has served as a trustee for the Paul Hall Center and as chair of its advisory board for years. He was instrumental in securing key expansions to the school. That includes the Joseph Sacco Fire Fighting and Safety School, which provides maritime firefighting training, and a cutting-edge facility with a variety of simulators that help seafarers develop important shiphandling skills and learn industry procedures. Thanks in part to Augie’s efforts, Paul Hall Center now offers more U.S. Coast Guard-approved training courses than any other school in America, providing a first-rate education to its students and graduating some of the world’s best merchant mariners year after year. We are so lucky to have this esteemed institution in Southern Maryland and to have leaders like Augie who help run it.
It’s been a pleasure to know Augie all these years. From preserving America’s maritime traditions to protecting workers’ rights, he continues to do crucial work on behalf of our state and Nation. I ask that my colleagues join me in congratulating Augie on this award and in thanking him for all that he has done for our country and its mariners.