NY Waterway Workers Ratify 4-Year Contract

Seafarers Log, February 2011

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Seafarers have come to an agreement with NY Waterway and have ratified a brand new contract, with workers winning wage increases and continued benefits.


The four-year contact features pay raises for captains and deckhands, guaranteed financial maintenance of the pension fund, and continued funding for medical benefits. These advances were made without any concessions on the part of the members.


“This was a great step forward for all the members at NY Waterway,” said SIU Vice President Atlantic Coast Joseph Soresi. “In spite of external factors like the economy, we could still sit down and come up with a mutually beneficial agreement without having to concede any benefits.”


The SIU negotiating team included Soresi, Captain George Sullivan, Deckhand George Schumpp, Deckhand Israel de Jesus, Captain John Clare, and New York Patrolman Mark Von Siegel.


The contract was ratified through a mail-in vote and, for the first time, was approved on the initial round of balloting. In addition to the vast majority voting in favor, the turnout was one of the largest in recent memory.


“I’m happy with the turnout of the vote and I’m pleasantly surprised by it,” said Clare. “We were able to close the deal before the end of the year, within only two months of the expiration of the old contract.”


Clare went on to laud the contract as a success, particularly the lack of any concessions on the part of the crews at NY Waterway.


“The company seemed to understand what we were trying to preserve and why,” said Clare. “In these tough economic times, I’d consider this contract fair.”


NY Waterway, a passenger ferry service, employs more than 100 SIU members on 25 vessels. Workers at NY Waterway have made headlines over the years for their heroic actions following major events and disasters. NY Waterway workers were among the first responders, helping evacuate thousands from lower Manhattan following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.


In 2009, NY Waterway workers rushed to the aid of a downed US Airways plane in the Hudson River. In a saga known as the Miracle on the Hudson, NY Waterway boats assisted in the rescue of 155 people from the frigid waters.

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