The State of Alaska and the International Organization of Master, Mates and Pilots union announced a tentative agreement Monday on a new labor contract. The deal includes a 1 percent pay increase next year and another 2 percent bump in 2016.
State officials and the largest of the three ferry workers' unions announced a tentative labor agreement Monday ending months of negotiations.
JUNEAU - State legislative leaders have called on Gov. Sean Parnell to "hold the line" in contract talks with the Alaska Marine Highway System's unions. The state is negotiating new contracts with unions representing ferry workers.
Not many shipping companies pay more than $1,100 for every passenger they service, but that's the average cost to the state of Alaska for each Marine Highway System user.
State negotiators and three labor unions operating the state's second fast ferry, Chenega, said they reached a final contract late Friday that included agreements on crew size and schedules.
Up to six University of Alaska Southeast students a year can be accepted as oiler interns in engine rooms of state ferries under an agreement signed recently. Oilers maintain the engines.
The contract ratified Monday by members of the Inlandboatmen's Union of the Pacific calls for no wage hike, said Bob Poe, commissioner of the Department of Administration. Two other contracts reached with state employees' unions this year had similar terms.
That doesn't mean a strike is imminent, however, said Bob Provost, regional director of the Inlandboatmen's Union of the Pacific, Alaska region. A strike vote could be used as leverage in negotiations. The union's executive committee is actually recommending a ``no'' vote, Provost said.
Members of the Inlandboatmen's Union of the Pacific, which provides most of the crews on Alaska ferries, have voted down a tentative contract and have returned to the bargaining table.
University students will get their sea legs and the ferry system could find much needed workers under a new type of internship.
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