Executive Council Statement

On the Retirement of Michael Sacco

The AFL-CIO Executive Council celebrates the service of our brother and friend, Michael Sacco, the longest-serving president in the history of the Seafarers International Union (SIU).

During his more than three decades as international president and over six decades of membership with SIU, Sacco proved to be a staunch champion for generations of merchant mariners and America’s working families.

A native of the Brooklyn borough of New York City, Sacco served in the U.S. Air Force before joining the Seafarers in 1958 and then working aboard U.S.-flag merchant vessels. In 1960, he came ashore to serve the SIU in a succession of union posts, including those of patrolman, port agent and headquarters representative. He served as vice president of the Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship from 1968 to 1979, and helped prepare the next generation of merchant mariners.

From 1980 to 1988, Sacco directed the SIU’s Atlantic, Gulf, Lakes and Inland Waters division as vice president, and in June 1988, the Seafarers International Union of North America Executive Board appointed him president, a post he would hold for nearly 35 years.

In November 1991, Sacco was elected to the AFL-CIO Executive Council, beginning his tenure as its longest-serving member.

During his service as SIU president and president of the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO, his leadership brought security and stability to the Seafarers, a successful merger with the National Maritime Union, and solidarity with the numerous maritime trade unions.

Mike Sacco dedicated his life to the SIU and to furthering the values of trade unionism. He is an inspiration to us all, and we wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement.