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Guide to 2024 MTD Executive Board Meeting Coverage


The venue and format were new, but the aim of the Maritime Trades Department Executive Board remained familiar when the body convened on April 25th at AFL-CIO headquarters.

Through a series of approved statements and input from guest speakers, the board focused on promoting all segments of American maritime while protecting the jobs of rank-and-file members of MTD affiliate unions.

In years past, the board’s winter meeting often took place in Florida as two half-day sessions. This year’s sessions happened in the nation’s capital over the course of one day. MTD President David Heindel presided over the session, with Executive Secretary-Treasurer Mark Clements assisting. 

In his opening remarks, Heindel paid tribute to his predecessor, the late MTD President Michael Sacco, who passed away late last year.

“Mike was many things, but when it came to business, he ultimately was a pragmatist,” Heindel stated. “He believed in getting the job done the right way, without taking shortcuts, and he kept us moving forward at all times.” The Board then observed a moment of silence for President Sacco, as well as others in the Maritime community who had passed away since the Board’s last meeting. 

Attendees were then welcomed to the House of Labor by AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond before the day’s business proceeded. The first guest speaker, Gwee Guo Duan from the Singapore Maritime Officers Union, followed with a briefing on the crew of MV Dali, the vessel involved in the Francis Scott Key Bridge incident

Brother Gwee was followed up by Administrator Adam Tindall-Schlicht, from the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (GLS). Mr. Tindall-Schlicht provided a detailed report on improvements along the Seaway. 

Afterward, Michael Wessel from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission caught the Board up to speed on the Section 301 U.S. Trade Representative petition filed by MTD and several of its affiliates. The AFL-CIO’s new Director of Advocacy Jody Calemine introduced himself to the Board and provided brief remarks on the AFL-CIO’s legislative outlook. 

Before the lunch break, Executive Secretary-Treasurer Clements made a special announcement that the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers would be joining MTD as its 25th affiliate. 

The afternoon session opened with a video address from Gen. Jacqueline van Ovost of the U.S. Transportation Command, praising American maritime workers for their contributions as well as offering her condolences on the late President Sacco. 

Following the video address, Marine Engineers Beneficial Association Secretary-Treasurer Roland Rexha, who walked the Board through his union’s epic contract victory with Staten Island Ferries. The final speaker of the day was maritime YouTuber Dr. Sal Mercogliano, who delivered a primer on growing his YouTube channel and reaching the next generation of maritime workers

All in all, attendees were satisfied with the new venue and format of the sessions, with many already looking forward to next year’s Executive Board meeting.

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