Editor’s note: This letter was mailed to active Seafarers in mid-April
April 17, 2020
Dear SIU Brothers and Sisters:
In addition to 2020 being a presidential election year, we are also scheduled to conduct our union election. While we still plan to run the SIU election as usual pursuant to the union’s constitution, we are taking extra steps in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to help ensure the ongoing safety of all concerned while also promoting maximum participation.
With that in mind, the union’s executive board has approved lenience for prospective candidates who are unable to pay their dues on time for the second and/or third quarters of this year because of the pandemic. Our constitution specifies that candidates must have been in continuous good standing for at least three years (12 calendar quarters) immediately prior to the nomination period (which is July 15-August 15). Per executive board action, any candidate who was in good standing for at least 10 consecutive quarters as of the end of the first quarter of 2020 will not be precluded from nomination because of late dues payments in the second or third quarters this year.
Please also note that the board has cancelled the May membership meetings, again due to the pandemic. Normally, the president’s pre-balloting report is read at the May meetings. The report will be available on the SIU website and in the May edition of the Seafarers LOG. I urge you to look up the full report as it contains valuable information relative to our elections and specifically the upcoming nominations’ period. In addition, Articles XII and XIII of the constitution contain all the relevant information, and the full constitution is also available on the SIU website.
We will ensure that all of our election-related communications are available online. That information also will be available at the hiring halls upon reopening.
We are in regular contact with the U.S. Department of Labor to help ensure that we’re following “best practices” and keeping individual safety at the forefront while also facilitating a democratic election with robust participation. We will continually monitor the situation regarding this pandemic and we will try to remain as flexible as is needed, which might mean that additional changes may become necessary as time goes on.
Lastly and as a reminder to anyone who’s unaware, we have added a COVID-19 section on our home page, with the intent of making our pandemic-related announcements easy to find.