SIU members and officials were saddened to learn of the unexpected passing of American Maritime Officers (AMO) Executive Vice President Mike Finnigan, who succumbed to a brain hemorrhage March 19 at his home in Palm Coast, Florida. He was 57.
Well-known and highly regarded throughout the maritime industry, Finnigan took office in January 2019 after most recently sailing as a deep-sea captain. He was an SIU member for several years beginning in the late 1980s, and sailed with the union as a bosun and AB before joining the AMO in 1994.
SIU Executive Vice President Augie Tellez said he enjoyed working with Finnigan.
“I worked with him as soon as he took office, and he definitely was willing to listen and learn,” Tellez stated. “He had a very noticeable enthusiasm for our industry and in particular for the men and women of the U.S. Merchant Marine. Mike was a straight shooter and he absolutely will be missed.”
“Mike was by far the best I had seen in this job in my 48 years of administrative service to AMO,” said AMO National President Paul Doell. “Mike was a brilliant colleague with great instinct, a big heart and a wide-open office door. He was an immediate friend to everyone his job here introduced him to, and we will miss him greatly.”
Finnigan, the son of a tugboat captain, grew up in his native Essex, Connecticut. Survivors include his wife of 15 years, Susan Ziegler Finnigan, along with is mother, brothers and sisters and many nieces and nephews. Capt. William C. Barrere will complete Finnigan’s term. Barrere has been a member of the SIUNA-affiliated AMO since 1985, and had been working as the union’s West Coast representative since September 2016.
“Mike Finnigan would be pleased with this appointment of his friend Willie Barrere as his relief,” Doell said. “Willie is thoughtful, thorough and transparent in his conversations with AMO members aboard ship and ashore – values Willie and Mike shared.”