AMHS says it will resume sailing on Sunday after union strike ends

Published: Aug. 2, 2019 at 10:04 AM AKDT
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The Ferry workers strike is over, and AMHS vessels are set to sail as early as 7 a.m. on Sunday.

See the schedule

Robb Arnold, a representative for the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific confirmed with Channel 2 through email early Friday morning.

Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service (FMCS) Commissioner and Regional Director Beth Schindler mediated the talks between the parties and helped to facilitate their achievement in reaching a successive collective bargaining agreement.

“The parties worked around the clock in mediated negotiations over the last week to reach this settlement. It’s my privilege to help both sides work through challenges resolving their disputes in order to come away with a new contract,” said Schindler.

The Department of Administration says the new contract is the result of more than two years of negotiations between the State and the IBU. Terms of the tentative agreement will be released once the contract is ratified by IBU members.

The State saw legal issues with the offer and warned that going on strike would not be legally protected. Regardless, the union went forward with the strike.

But the strike wasn't cheap. Aside from the uncountable inconvenience it caused-- from military service members on their way to deployments to tourists looking to get to the Southeast State Fair -- the nine-day strike required the ferry system to issue expensive refunds that totaled $3.2 million to 8,300 passengers. That number could rise, as refunds are still being offered for the lack of service.

At a media teleconference on Friday afternoon, Kelly Tshibaka, Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration, said that the two sides met in the middle on several issues, particularly wages, healthcare and the duration of contract. IBU representatives had originally pushed for a three-year contract, a concession that the state apparently made to the union.

Prior to the strike, IBU also lamented a lack of wage increases for the previous five years, but details about the wages haven't been released.

The AMHS announced a schedule for its eight vessels, and says its reservations center will open this weekend from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

  • Lituya – Will begin with KTN – ANB run at 10:45am on Sunday, August 4th.
  • Tazlina – Will begin with a revised schedule of JNU-HNS-JNU run at 7:00am on Sunday, August 4th.
  • LeConte – Will begin with JNU-GUS run at 7:00am on Sunday, August 4th.
  • Aurora – Will begin with a revised schedule of VDZ-WTR-CDV run at 7:30am on Sunday, August 4th.
  • Malaspina – Will begin with JNU – PSG run at 5:45pm on Sunday, August 4th.
  • Tustumena – Will begin with KOD – HOM run at 10:15pm on Wednesday, August 7th.
  • Columbia – Will begin with KTN – BEL run at 3:00pm on Wednesday, August, 7th.
  • Kennicott – Will begin with KTN – BEL run at 3:00pm on Thursday, August 8th.
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