Voting started last month and will continue through Dec. 31 in the election of officers of the SIU’s Atlantic, Gulf, Lakes and Inland Waters.
Balloting is taking place at 20 SIU halls across the country. Full-book SIU members in good standing are eligible to vote in the election, which will determine union officers for the 2021- 2024 term.
Seafarers may obtain their ballots from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., Mondays through Fridays (except legal holidays), and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays (again except legal holidays) until Dec. 31. The ballot includes the list of candidates seeking the posts of president, executive vice president, secretary-treasurer, six vice presidents, six assistant vice presidents and 10 port agents (for a total of 25 positions). Only two of the positions have more than one candidate running; those positions are highlighted on the ballot.
At the union halls, a member in good standing (upon presenting his or her book) is given a ballot and two envelopes. After his or her selection is marked, the ballot is folded and placed inside an envelope marked “ballot.” That envelope then is sealed inside a postage-paid envelope bearing the mailing address of the bank depository where ballots are kept until submitted to the union tallying committee.
The rank-and-file tallying committee, consisting of two members from each of the union’s constitutional ports, will be elected in December. They will convene in early January and will tabulate and announce the election results.
Article XIII of the union’s constitution spells out the procedures by which an election will be conducted. The entire text of Article XIII, along with a sample ballot, a list of voting locations and other related information appears on Pages 6-10 of the October 2020 issue of the Seafarers LOG.
Additionally, a notice of the election was mailed in October to all members at their last known address, with a list of all voting locations as well as a sample of the official ballot.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, extra steps are being taken to help ensure member participation in the election. These modifications have been extensively reported in the LOG, on the SIU website and at the monthly membership meetings. They include (for this election only) easing the absentee-ballot procedures, expanding the hours for ballot pickup, and having union representatives bring ballots to SIU-crewed vessels whenever reasonably possible. As part of the latter development, SIU representatives are undergoing COVID-19 testing every two weeks, and any representative visiting a ship must show proof of a recent negative test.