Michael Sacco is president of the Seafarers International Union of North America, AFL-CIO – a federation of 12 autonomous unions representing 80,000 merchant mariners; industrial, service and government workers; and others in various professions. He first was elected to the position by the SIUNA executive board in June 1988.
Sacco also is president of his home union – the SIUNA-affiliated Seafarers International Union; Atlantic, Gulf, Lakes and Inland Waters District/National Maritime Union (AGLIWD/NMU). The district’s membership is composed of mariners, boatmen and fishermen working aboard U.S.-flag deep sea ships, Great Lakes vessels and inland waters and harbor boats. It includes mariners from the former National Maritime Union, which merged into the SIU in 2001.
In November 1991, at its 19th Biennial Constitutional Convention, Sacco was elected a vice president of the AFL-CIO, the federation of 56 national and international unions representing more than 11 million workers in the United States.
Since 1988, Sacco has served as president of the AFL-CIO Maritime Trades Department, representing 23 unions with members engaged in shipping and maritime-related trades. He most recently was reelected to the post during the MTD’s 2009 convention.
From 1980 to 1988, Sacco directed the SIU AGLIWD’s Great Lakes and Inland Waters division as vice president. Based in St. Louis, he served as secretary-treasurer of the Greater St. Louis Area and Vicinity Port Council (an MTD chartered organization) and as an executive board member of the Missouri State AFL-CIO.
Sacco also was vice president of the Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship from 1968 to 1979. The school, located on the grounds of the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education in Piney Point, Md., prepares men and women for a career aboard U.S.-flag commercial vessels and provides upgrading opportunities to active members.
Michael Sacco joined the SIU in 1958 and shipped aboard U.S.-flag merchant vessels until he came ashore during the 1960s to serve the SIU in a succession of union posts, including those of patrolman, port agent and headquarters representative.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Sacco served in the U.S. Air Force from 1954 to 1958. He was born February 14, 1937. He is married, and he and his wife, Sophie, have five children.