Who We Are

A message from Michael Given

2023: A strong year for SIU Canada Members

This article is featured in the December 2023 issue of The Canadian Sailor

Brothers and Sisters,

At the beginning of this year, the SIU Canada Executive Board saw its’ biggest shake-up in many years, with a new and excited group coming in ready to bring new ideas to the table and fight hard for all members of this great union. We had quite a few challenges and obstacles to overcome, but overall, we were able to advance the agenda of Canadian seafarers, protect jobs, and secure strong new agreements with some of our biggest companies, benefitting all SIU Canada members.

Recruitment and retention were major points of focus for us this year. We have many members getting ready for retirement, and we need new blood in our ranks to keep the Canadian seafaring industry afloat. We were able to successfully implement new recruitment strategies, including a solid recruitment campaign through social media advertising in the spring of 2023, that generated a lot of interested young seafarers and brought many new members to the union to help fill open positions. We also committed a lot of resources to attending in-person career fairs and job markets to attract career-seekers to the marine industry. We attended job fairs throughout the country, and we were able to showcase the strength of the SIU Canada to thousands of people looking for a chance to use their skills in a career at sea. While this year can be marked with some success in our recruitment efforts, we are aware that there is still much work to be done outside of our union to help promote these great careers to more Canadians. The government and the companies must step up to help address labour issues in the marine sector, and we plan on continuing to put pressure on both to help in this regard. This fight cannot be won alone, but we will make sure we continue to do our part to ensure this industry in which we all work in continues to thrive.

Our team worked with negotiation committees for all groups who were up for contract renewals this year, and we saw gains in members’ conditions and wages across the board. Contracts were renewed with companies such as Fraser River Pile & Dredge, Canship, Oceanex, Algoma Central Corporation, and among others. The improvements made to these contracts were welcome news to SIU Canada members, and we are happy with the gains we secured this year in all our negotiations. We would like to thank all members who stepped up and got involved this year. Without your input, there is no Union. We encourage all members to get involved with your Union, stay up to date, and stay in contact with your SIU representatives. We are only made stronger by your continued role in the SIU Canada.

Looking to the year ahead, 2024 brings with it a continuation of some of the challenges we’ve been facing this year, and certainly new challenges and obstacles will arise, as they always do. SIU Canada Members must remain vigilant in ensuring power is in the hands of the workers, not in the hands of the companies. Our power and our strength come from our ability to unify for the collective good and for each other. When we are unified, there is no threat we cannot face head on. The SIU Executive Board is excited for the year ahead and the challenges we are sure to face.

On behalf of all the staff at the SIU Canada, I wish you a safe end to your sailing season and wish you and your family a safe and healthy holiday season and a happy new year.