Our union is mourning the sudden passing of Executive Vice President Mike Finnigan, who suffered a massive brain hemorrhage at his home in Palm Coast, Florida, on Friday, March 19.
Mike - who was elected to this official position in December 2018, and who assumed office on January 1, 2019 - was by far the best I had seen in this job in my 48 years of administrative service to AMO. Mike accomplished much for many in his all-too-brief time as the AMO official responsible for collective bargaining procedures and strategies, ending years of harmful past practice and what Mike called "drive-by contracts."
When the AMO election ballot count was completed on December 3, Mike began studying contract files and related memoranda and correspondence immediately, taking extensive notes as he identified areas in significant need of improvement.
Mike did this every day and into every evening through December, through the Christmas break, and through his oath of office on January 1, 2019 - with no transition assistance and with no pay.
Once in office, Mike asked AMO members at sea to designate representatives from within their fleets to serve on negotiating committees, instead of handpicking rank-and-file participants as contract deadlines approached. All of the AMO members joining Mike at the bargaining table were involved directly at every level of the talks - no secret "caucus" between Mike and the employer representatives.
Mike's preference was to hold contract talks here at AMO headquarters to allow for immediate contact with the appropriate parties in the AMO administration, in AMO Plans and in STAR Center to address questions arising from membership benefit discussions.
When he was not engaged in or prepping for contract negotiations or teaming with employers bidding on government contracts, Mike was working every day and most often into the evening and on weekends to ease the difficult professional and personal consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on AMO members coast-to-coast and worldwide, to assist individual AMO members at odds with employers over specific matters, and to help AMO members get necessary information from AMO Plans about specific benefit claims.
Mike Finnigan was a man of honor and principle, promoting transparency and the need for real and lasting administrative reform in AMO.
Mike was also a brilliant colleague with great instinct, a big heart and a wide-open office door. He was an immediate friend to everyone his job here introduced him to, and we will miss him greatly.
On behalf of the AMO Executive Board, I extend deep sympathy to Mike's widow, Sue Finnigan, and to their families. We will notify everyone of arrangements as they are made, and we will have much more to say in Mike's memory.
March 20, 2021