It’s no overstatement that the 2023 Executive Board meeting of the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO was history in the making.
The Executive Board, composed of representatives from the MTD’s 24 affiliates, had not convened in this capacity since 2019 due to concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic. With a full agenda of new and old business, the Board listened to speakers, approved policy statements, and celebrated the MTD’s departing leadership on February 16th and 17th.
Shortly after President Michael Sacco gaveled in the first day’s session, Maritime Administrator Rear Adm. Ann Phillips addressed the Board and reiterated the government’s support for the U.S.-flag maritime industry. Following the Maritime Administrator were Export-Import Bank Director Owen Herrnstadt and TOTE CEO Tim Nolan, both speaking about the outstanding efforts of U.S. Maritime Labor.
Rounding out the day, Will Attig of the Union Veterans Council briefed the Board on his organization’s work followed by a video address from TRANSCOM head Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost.
The agenda for the 17th was just as formidable. Filling in for Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Vice President Bill Hanson, Darrell Conner of K&L Gates kicked off the day’s events. He was followed by two faces familiar to the Board, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond and International Transportation Workers’ Federation General Secretary Steve Cotton.
Friday’s session concluded with the Board electing new officers to carry out their predecessors’ remaining terms pro tempore. Effective February 28th, Secretary-Treasurer of Seafarers International Union of Canada Chris Given will replace outgoing SIU of Canada President Jim Given as the Board’s Eastern Area Representative. Effective April 1, MTD Administrator Mark Clements will complete the remainder of Executive Secretary-Treasurer Daniel Duncan’s term.
However, the truly history-making moment of the Board meetings was President Sacco’s announcement that he would be stepping down from leading the MTD, effective immediately after the final gavel. The Board unanimously elected David Heindel, who earlier in the week assumed leadership of the Seafarers International Union when Sacco retired from that organization. Sacco ended his tenure as President of the MTD with a record-setting 34 years.
In addition, the Board also voted to approve and adopt twelve policy statements on issues important to Maritime and Organized Labor. The full text of those statements can be found here.