King 5 has done a story about the recent spate of cancelled or delayed sailings due to staffing issues. The article brings up the possibility that crews are staging a work slowdown, but a spokesman for the Inland Boatman’s Union denied any work stoppage or slow down, blaming mismanagement and barebones staffing levels instead.
“Ferries Deputy Chief George Capacci said they’re working to correct the problems. One issue they’re looking into is whether or not this is a type of work action. He says they’re talking to labor unions to see if disgruntled employees are causing a work slow-down to pressure management to give back lost wages and positions that have occurred over the last year.
“ ‘We need to have a full and open discussion about it, and we are looking into it, yes,’ said Capacci.
“…Union leader Dennis Conklin from the Inland Boatman’s Union told KING 5 there is no work stoppage or slow down taking place.
“ ‘The union has not authorized a work action and neither has the membership. It simply isn’t true. This is ferry system mismanagement. They don’t have enough people now. We’re down to the barebones and if one person is missing, the boat doesn’t sail,’ said Conklin.”
Once again, an excellent exchange is occurring on the FCP Yahoo Group. There are indications that the recent staffing issues may have an underlying cause in WSF’s inadequate tools and procedures for crew dispatch. It seems counter-productive to once again blame crews for issues that might be ascribed to procedures and policies within WSF management.
Read the full story here: Ferry system looks into possible work slow down
Dan Twohig from the Ferry Community Partnership forwarded us the link to the results of the 2012 Marine Employees’ Compensation Survey. The full 128-page report (which includes details on wages and benefits of the surveyed positions) can be downloaded from this link: 2012 Marine Employees’ Compensation Survey.
Washington State office of Financial Management (OFM) is charged with conducting a comprehensive survey “of comparable maritime employers, in both the public and private sectors, along the west coast of the US and Canada.” Organizations that participated in the 2012 survey include the Alaska Marine Highway System, BC Ferries, Foss Marine, Port of Seattle, Sound Transit, and others. The survey compared comparable positions in three areas: Ferry/Terminal; Shipyards; and Administrative.
So how do WSf employees, shipbuilders, and administrators stack up against their counterparts in other organizations? Here are excerpts from the survey’s Executive Summary:
Ferry Terminal Benchmark Positions
- Comparisons were again made against the market including and excluding Alaska Marine Highway Systems Cost of Living Differential (COLD).
- WSFS Ferry/Terminal positions lag the market average (including and excluding benefits) this year as opposed to leading it in both areas in previous years. Factors contributing to this new market lag include the State’s 3% salary reduction in addition to market actual average salaries increasing by approximately 8% (excluding COLD; approximately 7% including COLD).
- Overall in 2012, WSFS actual base salary lags the market by 6.7%, on average excluding COLD and 12.1% including COLD for these positions.
- Base pay including benefits for WSFS Ferry/Terminal positions lags the market by 7.9% on average excluding COLD and 12.7% including COLD…
- An additional comparison was made in this year’s report in response to the new provisions within the MM&P, MEBA (Licensed and Unlicensed), FASPAA, and IBU contracts of a 17.5% assignment pay for Relief Employees.
- With assignment pay, WSFS Relief Employees actual average pay leads the market by 9.2% excluding COLD and 3.5% including COLD on average.
- None of the participants in the Ferry/Terminal comparator groups were found to pay differentials or pay rates higher than the position with which they relieve (additional details can be found in the Ferry and Terminal Premium Pay and Benefits Summaries).
Shipyard Benchmark Positions
- The Shipyard market data for benchmark positions tracks reasonably well with the 2010 report in terms of base salary as well as actual pay plus benefits.
- Despite wage decreases for these positions, WSFS Shipyard positions lag the market only by 5.4% at actual base salary – compared to 2010 where they lagged the market by 4%.
- The Shipyard benchmark positions lead the market by .4% on average at base salary including benefits which is fairly consistent with their lead of 1.8% in 2010.
Administrative Benchmark Positions
- WSFS’s Administrative positions continue with last year’s trend by becoming slightly more competitive than the previous year.
- Average base salary for WSFS Administrative positions lags the market by approximately 15.7%.
- Base salary plus benefits lags the market by 15.2%.
The full survey is also available on our Documents page.
Last week the five unions that represent WSF employees ratified a new contract for 2011-2012 that includes a 3% pay cut. The contract also reduces overtime from double time to time and a half, and eliminates a controversial practice of paying some workers to travel to and from work. The contract is expected to save the State up to $10 million per year.
After signing the contract, the Inlandboatmen’s Union issued a statement, taking the Legislature to task for neglecting to find a stable source of funding for WSF :
“The chairs of the Transportation Committees have had over ten years to resolved this funding issue for the marine highways, which are constitutionally part of this state highway system, and to date the only solution seems to be higher fares, cuts in service, and sacrifices from the employees.”
HeraldNet: Ferry workers’ contracts done, but political battles remain
Kitsap Sun: Final Washington State Ferries union ratifies new contract with budget concessions
The ferry unions have arrived at some tentative agreements with the governor to save approximately $10 million each year. Members still need to vote on the agreements, so nothing’s decided yet, but you can read more about the proposed cuts here and here, and in this press release from the governor’s office.
Saturday morning FCP meeting carpooling update: If anyone from Friday Harbor, Orcas, Shaw, or Lopez needs a ride from the ferry that arrives in Anacortes at 8:40 a.m., we have a driver who has room for three riders. She is willing to drop riders off at a breakfast place and pick them back up in time for the meeting.
If you need one of these spots, please email me today at SJBrooks@aol.com so I can connect you with this driver.
Last week’s attachments for the January 29 FCP meeting included a report that may have gone unnoticed due to the fact that several documents were included with the agenda. It presents the Ferry Union Coalition’s response to the PVA report on WSF governance. The following message from Dan Twohig, who works for WSF, came through the FCP listserv a few days later and is posted here, along with a link to the response.