WaterBridge Ferries and associated company Waterbridge Equipment have settled a new contract with their workers. File photo

Union, Nakusp company reach ferry deal

Union says it achieved its goals in the contract talks

The labour dispute between WaterBridge Ferries, Waterbridge Equipment and its unionized workers is over.

Members of the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union voted overwhelmingly to ratify collective agreements with the Nakusp-based companies, avoiding job action that would have disrupted service on the Arrow Lakes, Adams Lake and Francois Lake ferries.

They had been without a contract since the spring.

SEE: Waterbridge invites Arrow Lakes ferry workers’ union to talks

“Our members had one goal in this round of bargaining — to get contracts that ensured the long-term sustainability of these ferries by addressing recruitment and retention through wage parity with BC Ferries and a commitment to successorship training,” said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU president. “They achieved their goal and that’s a huge win for our members, for their employers and for everyone who relies on these ferries.”

That successorship training includes providing opportunities for members to take additional training for certification and qualifications for positions that require it.

“It can take up to eight to 10 years to have the appropriate certifications for some of the senior positions,” says Smith. “So this is a commitment to provide the opportunity for members who are currently working with WaterBridge to take that training so they can take those positions.”

The company commented on its Facebook page.

“We are pleased to announce the conclusion of the negotiations. The fear of strike or other job action is now removed,” it posted. “We wish to thank the local business owners and community influencers who came to Vancouver to support us during the labour board hearings.”

Smith didn’t have the details about the actual increase for Waterbridge workers under the settlement. The new agreement takes effect immediately and expires on March 31, 2022.

Smith thanked local communities for their understanding during the strike.

“We are incredibly grateful for the community support for our members,” she said. “We know how important these inland ferries are to these ferry-dependent communities and their support for our members to achieve these agreements has meant the world.”

Talks between the BCGEU and Western Pacific Marine – which operates the Kootenay Lake, Glade and Harrop routes – resumed last week, more than five months after the two sides reached an impasse in June.

“We hope in principle we can achieve the same results with Western Pacific Marine,” Smith told the Arrow Lakes News.

The union has been engaging in job action on the Kootenay Lake ferry run since the September Labour Day weekend. It said it would ease up on some of its action — including lifting overtime restrictions — as long as bargaining is ongoing.

SEE: Union: Kootenay Lake ferry talks to resume

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo: Rose Karges
Blue about snow?

If you have a recent photo to share email it large or actual-size editor@trailtimes.ca

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

Some amendments have been made to the bylaw since it passed first reading. File photo
Second public hearing set for Rossland chicken bylaw

Amended bylaw would now require electric fencing to be put around yards with chickens

File
Cooperation needed so minority Parliament can function smoothly

“We will continue to work with the other parties to get answers … ”

Katrine Conroy has won for the fifth time in the Kootenay West riding. Photo: Submitted
Katrine Conroy ready to tackle challenges after election

Conroy won the Kootenay West riding for the fifth time

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Most Read