Extensive coverage of President Sacco’s career will appear in upcoming editions of the Seafarers LOG. If you’d like to share a sentiment for possible publication, please email [email protected]
A related press release is available HERE.
SIU President Sacco Retires
Michael Sacco, the longest-serving president in Seafarers International Union history, has retired.
“I am in good health and good spirits,” he stated. “But I have often heard that you simply know when it’s time to retire, and this is the time.”
Sacco, 86, formalized his plan Feb. 13 during a meeting of the SIU Executive Board near Orlando, Florida (see related story HERE).
AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said, “Mike Sacco’s distinguished career in trade unionism is an inspiration to all of us. Mike’s leadership at the Seafarers International Union benefited generations of merchant mariners and all working people. Mike led his union with integrity and a fighting spirit that he learned as a rank-and-file member. It’s been an honor to have him serve on the AFL-CIO Executive Council for more than three decades, always quick to offer sage advice and guidance about the future of our movement. We wish Mike nothing but the best in retirement and know he’ll always be ready to take up any fight that boosts working people.”
Sacco served as president of the SIU’s Atlantic, Gulf, Lakes and Inland Waters (AGLIW) for nearly 35 years, beginning in June 1988. He also worked as president of both the Seafarers International Union of North America (a federation of autonomous unions that includes the SIU AGLIW) and the Maritime Trades Department (MTD) throughout the same period.
Moreover, in November 1991, at its 19th Biennial Constitutional Convention, Sacco was elected a vice president of the AFL-CIO, the federation of 60 national and international unions representing more than 14 million workers in the United States. He eventually became the senior vice president of the AFL-CIO Executive Council as its longest-serving member.
A protege of the late SIU President Paul Hall, Sacco from 1980 to 1988 directed the SIU AGLIW’s Great Lakes and Inland Waters division as vice president. Based in St. Louis, he served as secretary-treasurer of the Greater St. Louis Area and Vicinity Port Council (an MTD-chartered organization) and as an executive board member of the Missouri State AFL-CIO.
Sacco also was vice president of the Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship from 1968 to 1979. The school, located on the grounds of the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education in Piney Point, Maryland, prepares men and women for a career aboard U.S.-flag commercial vessels and provides upgrading opportunities to active members.
He joined the SIU in 1958 and shipped aboard U.S.-flag merchant vessels until he came ashore during the 1960s to serve the SIU in a succession of union posts, including those of patrolman, port agent and headquarters representative.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Sacco served in the U.S. Air Force from 1954 to 1958.
His innumerable accomplishments leading the SIU will be revisited in upcoming editions of the LOG, the SIU’s official publication.
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