Although there are other additional factors, the job security of many SIU members depends on maintaining the Jones Act, the U.S. Maritime Security Program, cargo preference laws and other promaritime and pro-worker statutes.
And the ongoing viability of all of those laws and programs depends on having pro-maritime, pro-worker representatives at every level of government, from the White House to the state legislatures to the local town halls. That’s why we’re so heavily involved in politics, working with both major parties, and it’s why I’ve used several of my columns this year to encourage our rank-and-file members to get out the vote in November.
On that note, if you’re unsure about the legislative history of current members of Congress, take note that the AFL-CIO, to which the SIU is affiliated, maintains a comprehensive database of the voting records of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. It’s searchable and also grades members on whether they voted “right” or “wrong” on issues that affect America’s working families.
Check out the database by typing the following web address, or just search for “afl cio voting records”: www.aflcio.org/Legislation-and-Politics/Legislative-Voting-Records
While I hope that most Seafarers take the time to read my monthly report, whether in print or on the web, I understand that not everyone manages to see every issue of the LOG. So for anyone who missed this sentiment earlier in the year, let me repeat that I respect everyone’s right to their own opinions and their own political views. I also understand that politics brings out emotions, and that reasonable people can disagree on the worth of a particular candidate.
With all of that said, the SIU endorsed Hillary Clinton at the beginning of the year, and I still firmly believe she is the right choice for America’s working families. We’ve also been working with her people to help them understand the needs and concerns of Seafarers and their families. I have great confidence that should she be elected, her administration will be good news for SIU members.
It’s critical that we help get out the vote on behalf of Hillary and Tim Kaine and also on behalf of other pro-worker candidates in the House and Senate, as well as at the state and local levels. Our livelihoods depend on politics, whether everyone realizes it or not.
When you’re on the beach, check with your port agents or patrolmen. If you’re asked to help spread the word, please assist however you can – whether it’s precinct walks, phone banks, sign-waving, leafletting, or driving people to the polls.
Lastly, I thank every Seafarer who contributes to the union’s voluntary political action fund, SPAD. This fund is crucial to our success, and I’m proud of our excellent participation rate. If you’re not already signed up, it’s never too late – and it’s never been more important to the future of the SIU.
El Faro Anniversary
Our next edition will include coverage of El Faro memorial events that are scheduled to take place Oct. 1 in Jacksonville, Florida, and Piney Point, Maryland, respectively. But, I didn’t want to let this month pass without a heartfelt acknowledgement of all 33 brothers and sisters who perished when the ship sank during Hurricane Joaquin. They remain in my heart and always will.
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