Alaska Marine Highway workers have authorized a strike, if the union and state can’t agree on a new contract.
The Inlandboatman’s Union of the Pacific could call for workers to strike within the next month.
More than 600 ferry workers statewide are represented by the union. Their current contract expires on June 30, but the state and IBU have been at impasse over several issues, primarily cost of living adjustments. The state wants to reduce the COLA for new workers to close the gap between revenue and ferry operation costs. The union has said it would concede to no pay raises for two years, but wants to preserve the current cost of living adjustments for future workers.
With no agreement on the horizon, the union called for a strike authorization vote as a sign of solidarity and bargaining power. Union representatives said in April they hoped to get 80 percent of workers to support it. In a press release Tuesday, the IBU said 99 percent of workers voted to call a strike if bargaining remains stalled.
The state and union plan to meet June 10 for another round of negotiations.
- Indian Country status in Alaska would afford the same protections as reservation lands in the Lower 48.
- To many, ivory means dead elephants wasting away in the sun. "What they don’t see is walrus ivory, legal harvest, food on the table, economic benefit to rural Alaskans,” says biologist Gay Sheffield.
- “We don’t want to move quickly at all costs,” said Alaska BP regional manager David VanTuyl. “We don’t want to rush into the largest energy project in North America that only ends up losing lots of money for all of us.”
- Sealaska’s newest board member will continue to push for election and management changes. At least one long-time board member says she's willing to listen.