A Year Without A Contract


On Tuesday, community members, firefighters and other union sisters and brothers spoke out before the Skagit County Commission for safe and healthy Guemes Island families through retention of trained, nearby ferry workers.
Instead of swiftly settling a fair contract with wages that allow employees to meet the high cost of living near the ferry, County negotiators had proposed eliminating the rule that workers live within twenty minutes of the terminal for critical rapid response.
You can watch the public testimony here:  Testimony Video
As members return to mediation with Skagit County this Friday, please call Skagit County Commissioners tomorrow and urge them to:
· keep Guemes Island families safe and healthy through rapid ferry access in emergencies
 · maintain the critical rule that ferry workers live within twenty minutes of the terminal, and
 · approve a basic cost-of-living increase so ferry employees can continue living in these very expensive areas.
You can call and leave a message for Skagit County Commissioners Ron Wesen (District 1), Ken Dahlstedt (District 2) and Lisa Janicki (District 3) at (360) 416-1300, and email them at: commissioners@co.skagit.wa.us


Our last meeting with a mediator was March 14. The County has not moved at all on their position.

They did response with REMOVING the 20 minute response instead of an increase.  This bothers all of us from a providing a service standpoint.  While this might be fine in the short term, eventually, the response for emergency/after hour call outs will get longer and longer as fewer people remain in Anacortes (within 20 minutes of the terminal).

If this is a concern, a big effort of contacting the commissioners is needed to have them keep the 20 minute requirement and provide financial means to employees to live in the area of Skagit County that housing costs have increased more than any other part of Skagit County.

Our next mediation is scheduled for March 30.

Dear Guemes Island Ferry Commuters – Please Support the merchant mariners who work aboard the Guemes Island Ferry. They need your help! They’ve been bargaining for a fair contract for over a year and Skagit County is ignoring the true cost of living for these hard working mariners. All members of the crew must live within twenty minutes of the Guemes Terminal to be ready in case of medical or other emergency to provide extra hour service for residents of the island. The ferry crew is happy to make themselves available for this emergency service, but it has forced them to live in one of the most expensive real estate areas in Skagit County putting an undue financial hardship upon these workers. Please call or email your County Commissioners.

-Janet McKinney

Ron Wesen, Ken Dahlstedt, Lisa Janicki
360-416-1300, commissioners@co.skagit.wa.us

Sample Script

Dear County Commissioners

My name is ________________________ and I’m a resident of Skagit County and I’m calling/emailing to ask for your support for the Guemes Island Ferry workers who are now in mediation and have been in bargaining for over a year. They need a better wage increase than what is being offered by the county who requires them to live within 20 minutes of the Guemes Island Terminal for emergency service to and from the Island. The request is for at most 8 employees per day an additional 3.5% in total compensation from what is being offered for the 3 year contract term. Thank you for your consideration.