Chris Given takes over as the MTD Eastern Area Executive Board Member, effective March 1.
Given, the secretary-treasurer of the Seafarers Union of Canada, succeeds his father, Jim, who held the MTD post since 2012. The MTD Executive Board elected Chris unanimously when it met February 17.
Chris Given is a fourth generation member of the SIU of Canada. He joined the union in 2015, working in the Thorold hall before becoming the director of government relations. He was elected secretary-treasurer in 2022. He is a member of Transport Canada’s Canadian Marine Advisory Committee.
In addition, he served the union as a representative to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). He is chair of the ITF Cabotage Task Force and a member of the ITF’s Maritime Safety Committee, Inland Navigation Section and Fair Practices Committee Steering Group.
Married with children, he hold a Bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Montreal and has a labor relations certificate from Ryerson University in Toronto.
Jim Given started as an ordinary seaman in 1979. After sailing for 13 years, he came ashore as a dispatcher. Later, the SIU of Canada assigned him to be an ITF inspector before he led the ITF Cruise Ship Campaign in the early 2000s.
He became president of the union in 2012. While working hard for good contracts for his membership, he organized a multi-union nationwide campaign calling attention to violations of Canada’s cabotage laws, reaching a legal settlement with the federal government in 2017. (MTD Executive Secretary-Treasurer Daniel Duncan marched with Given and fellow protesters on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill in 2015.) He previously chaired the ITF Cabotage Task Force.
In 2019, the United Seamen’s Service honored him with its Admiral of the Ocean Seas Award. Given retired as president of the SIU of Canada in December.