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Posted: December 12, 2014

Through a time of internal change, our union will continue on course

By Tom Bethel
National President

As you are aware, the ballot count for the AMO 2014 election was conducted on December 8 and a new AMO national president and a new national secretary-treasurer have been elected and will take office on January 1, 2015.

These individuals are new to their positions and to the vast responsibilities their leadership roles entail in a union that has been transformed over the past seven years into the American Maritime Officers of today. But they will not be leading our union alone, and they will have the strong resources of the AMO administration and shore side staff to draw upon as our union moves forward into the future.

I want to remind and assure AMO-contracted operating companies, and all of our labor and industry partners and associates, that key AMO officials they know and have worked with over the years were re-elected without opposition to the National Executive Board. In this regard, the leadership of AMO remains stable and intact in significant ways and our union maintains the relationships we have established.

As we enter a period of internal change, AMO will continue on course.

The members of the National Executive Board will work with the new national president and national secretary-treasurer to the greatest extent possible to ensure the gains our union has made are held, and the future that has been established for AMO is sustained and secured.

Obviously, I am personally disappointed in the outcome of this election. I am also discouraged with the low turnout for a union-wide election of national officers. There were 3,019 ballots mailed to AMO members and applicants. Of those, just 930 eligible ballots were returned and counted, with there being 2,215 active book members at the time. As a result, the officials who will serve in the two top leadership positions on the National Executive Board were chosen by about 22 percent of our union's active book members.

I can only hope this reality registers with the AMO membership and inspires greater interest in the future. The importance of individual participation in the democratic process to the strength and solidarity of our union cannot be overstated.

I would like to take this opportunity to say farewell and to thank my fellow members, my friends and my colleagues and counterparts. I have enjoyed the friendships and strong working relationships we have built over the years. I sincerely appreciate all of your support, all that you have done and all that you do.

It has been an honor for me to lead our union and to represent the finest merchant mariners in the world. The skill and dedication applied every day on the job by AMO members in all deep-sea, Great Lakes and inland waters trades have earned the respect and admiration of the industry. The professionalism of the membership is the strength of AMO and makes all things possible for our union.

I wish you all luck, and I wish you all well.