Current Edition

President’s Report

PRO Act: Time is Now You may be aware of polling from the past couple of years that reflects a very favorable view of unions in the United States. Around 65 percent of Americans approve of labor unions, which is the highest percentage in almost 20 years. I didn’t know until recently that those same…

White House Establishes Pro-Worker Task Force

In late April, President Biden signed an executive order establishing the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment. The task force will be dedicated to mobilizing the federal government’s policies, programs, and practices to empower workers to organize and successfully bargain with their employers. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka stated, “The fight to strengthen…

Vaccinations Slow Global Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is on the decline in the United States, as vaccines become more widely available and restrictions on businesses have relaxed somewhat. However, the COVID-19 virus has taken a serious toll on the country, and the effects aren’t done. As of press time, the pandemic had killed 578,500 in the U.S., and infected…

SIU Crescent Towing Crews Ratify Contracts

Add another pandemic-era first for SIU boatmen employed by Crescent Towing. As the nation continues grappling with challenges associated with COVID-19, the SIU recently finalized two new three-year contracts covering Crescent crews in New Orleans; Mobile, Alabama; and Savannah, Georgia. Members ratified the agreements in mid-April, by nearly unanimous majorities. The contracts, covering approximately 200…

SIU, MTD Urge White House To Overturn CBP Ruling

The SIU, along with the Maritime Trades Department (MTD) and its Port Maritime Councils, have written letters to President Biden, urging his administration to change a recent ruling by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) that violates the Jones Act. As stated in a letter sent by SIU President Michael Sacco (who is also president…

Book Program Distributes Second Wave of Materials

The “BookWaves” program added to its donation totals in mid-April, delivering more than 7,000 additional books to children in Puerto Rico. BookWaves is a partnership between the SIU, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Asociación de Maestros de Puerto Rico (AMPR), the Transportation Institute (TI) and the organization First Book. With the help of Jones…

DOT Forbids Marijuana Use, Pre-Employment Drug Tests Are Reported to Coast Guard

Seafarers are reminded that the U.S. Department of Transportation forbids the use of marijuana by employees subject to drug testing under DOT regulations. Even if marijuana use is legal in your home state, it is still illegal under federal law (federal law regulates the maritime industry). A recent report by an industry trade association representing…

Paul Hall Center Modifies Some Requirements for Galley Training

In an effort to facilitate important training for mariners while also helping promote career advancement, the SIU-affiliated Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education has adjusted some of its requirements for steward-department coursework. Effective immediately, the path for entry-level students in the Paul Hall Center’s apprentice program to advance to chief cook consists of…

Notice to Mariners With International Voyages

The U.S. Department of State’s Passport Office has recently changed a policy that required mariners to show proof of an imminent international voyage in order to receive an expedited passport renewal. As stated in the revised rule, “Due to public health measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, Passport Services continues to have limited operations…

All Hands Safe Aboard President Eisenhower

No injuries and no pollution were reported following a recent fire aboard the Seafarerscrewed President Eisenhower (APL Marine Services) on the West Coast. The SIU represents steward department mariners aboard the vessel. APL’s parent company, CMA CGM, issued the following statement: “On April 28, a fire occurred onboard the M/V President Eisenhower while she was…

Longtime SIU Member Sears Caps Fruitful Career

It doesn’t take long in conversation with Steve Sears to identify what he truly treasures. Any mention of his wife of 30 years or their two adult daughters elicits genuine emotion and an unabashedly loving reaction. Yet, in reflecting on his 41-year career as an SIU member, it’s hard not to begin with the financial…