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Augustin Tellez

Augustin “Augie” Tellez is the executive vice president of the Seafarers International Union. He was appointed to that position in November 2005 and subsequently has been reelected multiple times by the union’s membership.

Previously, he served as the union’s vice president of contracts and contracts enforcement from 1991-2005. In that post, he managed the SIU’s collective bargaining and contract implementation efforts throughout all segments of the industry, including deep sea, Great Lakes, inland and passenger vessels.

Tellez was appointed as vice president in 1991 by the SIU executive board. He was elected to a full term by the union’s membership in 1992 and was reelected thereafter.

He also serves as a trustee for the Paul Hall Center for Maritime Training and Education – a world-class, comprehensive vocational education institution located in Piney Point, Md. Additionally, Tellez chairs the Paul Hall Center’s advisory board, composed of high-ranking industry representatives from labor, management and government.

Serving under the respective administrations of the late SIU President Frank Drozak, retired SIU President Michael Sacco and current SIU President David Heindel, Tellez has helped lead the union to numerous contractual gains and improved benefits for SIU members and their families.

As a Paul Hall Center trustee and advisory board chairman, he helped spearhead the construction of two unsurpassed additions at the school designed to promote shipboard safety: the Joseph Sacco Fire Fighting and Safety School, which opened in 1999 and specifically is tailored for marine fire fighting training; and a state-of-the-art simulator building that houses top-notch simulators for shiphandling, engine room operations, liquid cargo procedures, crane operations and more. The latter opened in October 2000.

Tellez also worked closely with the development team that put together the union’s Coast Guard-accepted training record book – a groundbreaking document first published in 1997 that is designed to help both individual SIU members and SIU-contracted companies comply with complex international maritime regulations.

From July 2011 to August 2022, he served on the U.S. Transportation Department’s Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council. In 2017, he was appointed to serve on the federal U.S. Maritime Workforce Working Group Subcommittee, which is part of the council. The subcommittee is tasked with examining and assessing the size of the pool of United States citizen mariners necessary to support the U.S.-flag fleet in times of national emergency.

For more than two decades, Tellez has participated in the U.S. Transportation Command’s Voluntary Intermodal Sealift Agreement Executive Working Group (EWG), which is a partnership between the U.S. Government and the U.S. commercial maritime industry. The purpose of the EWG is to strengthen the strategic relationship between the DOD, DOT and the industry with “assured access” to commercial sealift and intermodal capacity to support the emergency deployment and sustainment of U.S. military forces.

Tellez worked his way up through the ranks, starting with the SIU in 1975 after graduating from the entry program at the Paul Hall Center’s Lundeberg School of Seamanship. He sailed from the union’s Brooklyn, N.Y., hiring hall as an able bodied seaman before coming ashore.

He served the union in various capacities in Jacksonville, Fla.; Mobile, Ala.; Tampa; Paducah, Ky.; Baltimore; St. Louis; and Houston. In 1980, he became the port agent for the SIU’s headquarters port, located in Brooklyn.

Tellez in 1987 relocated to what had become the union’s new headquarters in Camp Springs, Md., where he served as special assistant to the president. That same year, he was elected as the vice president for the Seafarers International Union of North America – the parent union of the SIU’s seagoing component. A year later, he became the assistant vice president for contracts and contracts enforcement.

Tellez met his wife, Susan Lagana, in 1971 in Brooklyn and they were married in 1980. They have three children: Kristen Tellez-Wilson (husband Christian), Lauren Tellez (husband Curtis Reeves), and Augustin Francis Tellez. They have five grandchildren: Gabriel, Kaelynn, River, Noah and Jace.

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