SIU members employed by one of the nation’s most reliable passenger ferry companies now have the security of a new contract.
Seafarers overwhelmingly approved a five-year agreement that features annual wage increases and other gains. Voting took place by mail-in ballot; results were tallied on Oct. 8.
The pact covers approximately 125 members.
Negotiating on behalf of the SIU were Vice President Atlantic Coast Joseph Soresi, Port Agent Ray Henderson, Capt. Michael Muia, Capt. George Sullivan, Deckhand Nestor Martinez and Deckhand George Schumpp. Three bargaining sessions took place, all at the hiring hall in Jersey City, New Jersey.
“It’s the best contract I’ve seen in a long time,” Henderson said. “The negotiations were pretty straightforward, and the committee took their time and studied the facts. They cared about their contract and getting the best possible agreement for their fellow members.
“This is also a very good and fair agreement for the company,” Henderson continued. “I think they deserve credit for looking out for their employees.”
Schumpp has served on several SIU negotiating teams, and he also was pleased with the new agreement.
“It’s probably the best contract I’ve seen in the 31 years I’ve been here,” he stated. “The whole thing went very smooth and fast, very professional. We got a lot of good things out of this contract.”
Muia made his debut as a member of the negotiating committee.
“The contract is fair, I believe,” he said. “Overall, it went a little easier than I expected. I understand that in the past, things got a little heated, but there was nothing like that this time around.”
Since 1986, SIU-crewed NY Waterway ferries have provided dependable transportation for commuters and other passengers in New York and New Jersey. They also have conducted emergency evacuations, bringing hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents home safely after 9/11, the 2003 blackout and other disasters. These ferries and crews also have saved more than 300 people from various accidents, including 143 people rescued from Flight 1549 in the Miracle on the Hudson, the most successful rescue in aviation history.
The ferries carry upwards of 32,000 or more passengers daily and maintain an on-time performance rate greater than 99 percent. The boats serve 20-plus routes between New Jersey and Manhattan.