The Seafarers International Union maintains and promotes safe working conditions for men and women working aboard vessels, ensures high standards of training among its membership and maintains political involvement to benefit their industry. It also provides its members eligibility for access to health care, retirement and education benefits.
The SIU represents mariners and boatmen who work aboard U.S.-flagged vessels in international waters, the Great Lakes and on inland waterways. Membership includes deck, steward and engine workers. SIU members serve aboard a wide variety of vessels, including passenger cruise ships, gaming boats, military support vessels and commercial merchant and trade ships, including barges and tugs. Military support vessels operated by the U.S. Department of Defense's Military Sealift Command are key sources of jobs for union members.
The SIU offers apprenticeship programs to underprivileged youths through the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education as well as the Seafarers Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship. It prepares students for successful careers as U.S. Merchant Mariners and provides existing members with educational opportunities to advance their careers. The Union also offers its members retirement, pension and health insurance benefits and special care programs for issues that include chemical dependency. The SIU also provides its membership with Union Plus benefits, which provide discounts on everything from auto insurance to textbooks.