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SIU comments on the Delta Queen

Nov 15, 2007

Eventually, after months of total silence and refusing to comment the case in any way, the Seafarers International Union (SIU) now comments on the Delta Queen  (

In essence, the SIU says they neither "could or would guarantee congressional action on the proposed waiver", but "our [SIU’s] role in helping safely operate the vessel is one reason why the waiver had been granted in years past."

I’d like to remark that the SIU so far did completely ignoring requests for statements and e-mails we sent to SIU officials, not just once. They had the chance to comment, but they didn’t. Several newspaper reporters I talked to personally did contact them for statements and in the best case they got a "no comment" statement. So the question remains why SIU kept silent for such a long time instead of making their position clear from the beginning.

Now that this statement is out, at least their position is somewhat clearer to the public.



5 Responses to “SIU comments on the Delta Queen”

  1. Charles Greene Says:

    After the oil spell in S.F. Bay (from a foreign-flagged ship with a Chinese crew), it’s nice to hear from the Seafarer’s union. The public perception of unions is that of an adversarial relationship with management. Sometimes, nothing could be further from the truth.
    The union raises a valid point about the operation of a riverboat and the experience level and training of a union crew vs a non-union one. Any owner of a riverboat should strive to have the most experienced and well-trained crew operating their boats. If that means having a union crew, so be it. No American wants a foreign-crewed Delta Queen running into a bridge over an American river in in the fog.
    It’s time management and unions returned to a partnership paradigm where both sides contribute their expertise to the successful and safe operation of the Delta Queen. I believe the Greene Line understood that from the git-go.

  2. Franz Says:

    If you read the message board from first hand experienced posters about how much (or actually little) the Union did for safety training on the Delta Queen Steamboat Company boats, there is no reason at all to prefer Union members. They’re not better or worse than any other crew member concerning safty training. These trainings were and are conducted by the boat’s company, not by the Union.

    By the way: Foreign crew is not an option anyway as it’ll be against the law to man a domestic boat with non-US-citizens.

    Let’s not bring in politics in this discussion. I don’t want to discuss the question what Unions are good for and why. This is a totally diffent issue and doesn’t have anything to do with the safety of the Delta Queen.

  3. Charles Greene Says:

    Paul left me with the impression that a foreign crew was an option. I’m glad to see it is not. The fact that Rep. Oberstar voted twice for the exemption until the point at which Majestic bought the Delta Queen but didn’t take on the union crew is also a fact.
    Both sides may now wish they hadn’t been so brash. The safety issue is obviously a red herring, but still one which can ground the Delta Queen. A Congressman will sacrifice a national treasure in order to to save face with their constituents.
    Like it or not, it’s politicians and politics that will be the determining factor, not the composition of the Delta Queen’s superstructure or her crew. We must deal with the facts as they are, not as what we wish them to be. The task now is to find a way for both sides to CYA, declare victory and go home, leaving the Delta Queen to go about her business. Sound familiar?

  4. Allen Dale Strange Says:

    I would like nothing more than for the Delta Queen to be Exempted PERMENANTLY from SOLAS laws, BUT I am losing my hope that this will occur. I don’t understand WHY MAL can’t save the most important fixtures and the steam Engines and build a NEW Delta Queen that would meet ALL the SOLAS requirements. While we would NOT be able to preserve ALL the Neat things about the DQ, We could Save MOST! Even the Belle Of Louisville has had more than ONE AXE HANDLE, Blade… ect.. I think that a rebuild is neccessary to the further runnig of Her Majesty; be it Just to better update the old gal or TOTALLY renew her. Thanks.

  5. Charles Greene Says:

    There may come a time when a Delta Queen II, with some parts of the original will be plying America’s rivers, but that time has not yet come.
    Europe has numerous steamboats on its lakes decades older than the Delta Queen and that have been in continuous operation. The problem with the Delta Queen lies not in the man-made boat, but in the careless wording and application of a man-made law, SOLAS.
    Let’s continue to bring logic and rational thought into Congress, not build another boat to satisfy the misapplication of a poorly-written law.