Question about unions

I just wanted some validation on a few things I’ve read on the forums here:
East coast entry level jobs i.e. wiper, ordinary seaman in MSC, Crowley, and other big companies are acquired through the SIU and rarely if ever posted online. So I have to go in person to a union hall, apply for membership in person, pay my union dues ($1000 or so I believe), and then…? I’d honestly rather take a union job as I’m strong supporter but it seems like the SIU website just tries to funnel you into their educational program rather than providing information and as far as I can tell its the only unlicensed organization. Is this the way it’s done? Am I missing something? What is present book number??

I just finished Basic Safety Training and I have all the typical entry-level documents. I have experience on the water but not enough to bother getting endorsed for AB until I’ve come back from a job. I applied for every OS, Wiper job online regardless of location or details but I’d prefer a shipping vessel that does international waters and long contracts. My background is HVACR and stonemasonry with restaurant/kitchen management so I’ve applied to everything from casino boats in Florida to oil transports in Alaska. When I go through Jacksonville, Charleston and Norfolk and “pound the pavement” should I just be dealing out my resume to every human resources office I have access to? Who do I ask to speak with?

I’m not unlicensed, but from what I hear those entry level ratings are very difficult to get off the board if you’re not from the apprentice program and you come in off the street.

There’s an MSC job fair coming up in Jacksonville I’ll be going to. I’ll stop by the SIU hall too and see if they can give me any info. This site tends to be the best source of information so I’ll try to keep everyone updated in case someone else needs help.

Agreed. According to the SIU guys I’ve talked to onboard my ship, those coming out of the apprentice program are guaranteed their first job (no need to compete for it in the hall) AND come out with ‘B’ seniority which will beat out anyone who just comes in off the street. So yeah, their process certainly give big advantages to those who go through the apprenticeship program.