Seafarers International Union (SIU) President Sacco Passes Away

Seafarers International Union (AFL-CIO) has announced the passing of former Seafarers International Union (SIU) President Michael Sacco.

Michael Sacco was the longest-serving president in the history of the Seafarers International Union (SIU) and a beloved champion for generations of merchant mariners and America’s working families, the AFL-CIO statement reads.

He first was elected to the position by the SIUNA executive board in June 1988, and stepped down in February 2023.

The Seafarers International Union, Atlantic, Gulf, Lakes and Inland Waters, AFL-CIO, represents professional United States merchant mariners sailing aboard U.S.-flag vessels in the deep sea, Great Lakes and inland trades.

In the statement, the AFL-CIO described Sacco as “a trusted mentor and leader to his members, a dear friend of the AFL-CIO and an inspiration to the entire labor movement.”

The International Transport Workers’ Federation called Sacco a “tireless advocate for better wages, working conditions, and safety standards for seafarers worldwide.”

“The American maritime unions hold a unique place in the world,” said ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton. “Mike’s influence both before he became President and then during his record breaking 35 years at the helm set an example not only in the US but across the globe.”

“On behalf of the ITF and the Maritime Union of Australia, I extend the deepest sympathies and condolences to Mike’s wife Sophie, his family, friends and our SIU brothers and sisters at this demanding time,” said ITF President Paddy Crumlin.

ITF said his leadership of the SIU for a record-breaking 35 years transformed the union into a powerful force.

“He believed in strengthening the SIU and throughout his period he worked tirelessly to bring new and old American shipping companies under the SIU banner, and to ensure that SIU was at the table, protecting its members and ensuring they got the best possible contracts,” Cotton said. “But he was also a true believer in the global movement, and for the ITF, he always ensured SIU had an influence internationally.”