SIU Executive Vice President Augie Tellez told the audience at the annual Seafarers and International House “Setting the Course” Awards Banquet in New York that the U.S.-flag maritime industry will stand united to repel any and all attacks on its vital issues.
Tellez, who serves on the MTD Executive Board, fired up the crowd during his April 26 acceptance speech as a 2012 Outstanding Friend of Seafarers. He was referring to the recent broadsides in the media and in Congress on the Jones Act, cargo preference laws and domestic shipbuilding.
Speaking before approximately 300 representatives from both labor and business, Tellez explicitly pointed out his remarks were dedicated to the U.S.-flag industry as a whole.
“The legislation, regulations and programs that form the basis for the very existence of the U.S.-flag fleet are in jeopardy,” he stated. “The Jones Act and cargo preference and everything in between is under attack. The challenge before us is how do we respond and meet these challenges?”
He answered, “We need to put aside our differences in this battle. We need to coordinate, consolidate and concentrate all of our resources and efforts to thwart these attacks. A clear message must be sent to those who always seem to forget us when the war is over, the mission accomplished, the earthquake passed: We say, no more!”
He continued, “To those who look to distort the facts and spread lies to meet their insidious agendas, we say, no more!
“To those who rush to diminish and dismiss 70-plus years of our feeding the world and the most successful and effective humanitarian effort of our time, we say, no more!
“To those politicians who readily accept our support, financial or otherwise, and look to leave our side in this fight, we say, no more!
“And to the rest who know us not, it is high time we let them know who we are and what we do.”
Also recognized with the same award by the Seafarers and International House was Thomas Murphy of Crowley Maritime.
Murphy proudly spoke about his 60 years in the maritime business. He acknowledged many of the people with whom he has worked over the years in labor relations.
The New York-based organization is a mission for seafarers and sojourners affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It operates an 84-room guest house in New York City.