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AFL-CIO Honors Michael Sacco


The AFL-CIO recently adopted the following statement during a meeting of their executive council (the first such meeting since Mike’s passing late last year). The statement is linked on the federation’s website HERE.

On the Passing of Michael Sacco

The entire AFL-CIO family mourns the passing of Michael Sacco, our brother and friend, who was the longest-serving president in the history of the Seafarers International Union (SIU).

Photo of Mike Sacco with gavel
Michael Sacco

During his more than three decades as international president and over six decades of membership with the SIU, Sacco was 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.

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

The AFL-CIO Executive Council salutes Mike Sacco for a lifetime of distinguished service to working people and furthering the values of trade unionism.

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