To the editor: Late on Thursday night, the state of Alaska and Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific reached an agreement, ending a nine-day strike and allowing the Alaska Marine Highway System to resume ferry service to coastal communities Sunday.
The three-year agreement, which union members ratified over the weekend, gives IBU employees a 1.5% wage increase in 2020 and 2021, bridges IBU employees into contributing toward their health care, preserves a cost of living differential in pay for Alaska and nonresidential pay rates, and agrees to important terms regarding operations of certain boats.
The agreement reflects compromises made by both sides and addresses many of IBU’s concerns. We are very pleased with the agreement, and we are grateful to everyone on the negotiating teams, and to the federal mediator, for tough work on reaching this compromise. It’s gratifying to know our hard-working employees will be headed to work and our ferries will be back in the water serving Alaskans.
Thanks also are extended to everyone who kept our fleet shipshape and to those behind the scene who kept the lights on and managed all the cancellations during the strike. We also thank those private sector businesses that altered their normal course of operations to accommodate stranded passengers and cargo, and helped our coastal communities in this time.
Ultimately, this deal is both good for employees and good for Alaska, and that is what really matters.