Another Job Well Done
Around this time last year, I congratulated our members and our officials in the hiring halls and at the manpower office for stepping up and tackling a flurry of vessel activations.
Kudos once again are in order following a total of 19 recent activations that wrapped up in late August. Although we didn’t have to crew up quite as many ships this time (the 2019 activations were believed to have been the most since the Persian Gulf War), you could say we had an extra challenge in 2020. Nevertheless, the pandemic didn’t stop us from quickly filling every job for which we’re responsible.
Under the circumstances, our people deserve recognition for a job well done. I’m proud of all of you, and even though there’s never a doubt that we’ll always live up to our duty as part of the nation’s fourth arm of defense, you all truly rose to the occasion.
If the activations were relatively sudden, the global COVID- 19 pandemic has hung around so long, it’s almost difficult at times to remember exactly what our lives were like before it started. There’s no definitive end in sight – but it will end at some point.
Meanwhile, our union and our industry have made the best of it, always keeping safety at the forefront. There is no recent precedent for the pandemic, and we’ve all been learning as we move along. No one is saying the operations have been perfect, but I think we’ve all pulled together – labor, management and government – to keep our people safe, keep commerce moving, and support our armed forces around the globe.
Where the novel coronavirus is concerned, my message this month to our membership (and our officials and staff) is that this is no time to let down our guard. We’ve got to stick with our safety protocols, try to be patient, and protect ourselves, our families, our shipmates and anyone else we might come into contact with.
We’ve all come too far and made too many sacrifices to become careless now. Hang in there and stay safe.
After Election Day
The SIU will be ready to move forward no matter who wins on Election Day, and that goes not just for the presidency but also the congressional, state and local elections. If you’ve been in this industry for any length of time, I don’t have to tell you that we are heavily regulated, and that’s reason enough for us to remain politically active.
As always, we support those who support maritime, and we will work with anyone and everyone who backs the U.S. Merchant Marine and who stands up for workers’ rights.
I have mentioned this from time to time but it bears repeating, with Nov. 3 right around the corner: Practice civility in your political discussions. Focus on issues, actually listen to what the other person is saying, and remember that we all love our country, even if we’re bound to disagree on particular subjects. And one of the best ways to show your appreciation for our great nation is to vote. Make sure to cast your ballot in person or via absentee for those candidates who stand up for a strong, vital U.S. Merchant Marine.
Both the American maritime industry and the labor movement are very much worth promoting and protecting, and that’s what we’ll continue doing regardless of the outcomes in November.