Last week Jennifer French, MPP for Oshawa and NDP critic for transportation and infrastructure, presented a petition with over 900 signatures supporting the Ministry of Transportation workers on the Glenora and Wolfe Island ferries, members of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 428.
The Wolfe Island ferry has been cancelled for up to 12 hours at a time several times this year, trapping residents and visitors on the Island with no way to leave for work or emergencies. Fifteen-minute service on the Glenora ferry was also cancelled this summer at the height of tourist season, creating hours-long line-ups and delays for passengers.
Glenora and Wolfe Island residents are suffering from a crisis created by the Ontario government underpaying ferry workers. This is a manufactured staffing crisis. The government is drastically underpaying OPSEU/SEFPO MTO members, which creates retention issues as workers leave for better-paying jobs. To make matters worse, instead of raising the wages of MTO members, the government is spending as much as $450 per day contracting out ferry work to Reliance Offshore, an out-of-province, private temporary staffing agency that charges up to twice as much per hour as ministry staff earn.
Tell Premier Doug Ford and Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney:
- Fix the ferry disruptions
- Stop wasting public funds on agency workers
- Stop contracting out
- Hire more MTO workers
- Respect workers and pay competitive wages
Contact them today:
Hon. Doug Ford
Hon. Caroline Mulroney
Minister of Transportation
Click here to download a copy of the “Fix our Ferries” petition (PDF) (Please mail original copies to the address on the petition form, only original signatures are accepted by the Ontario Legislature)
“We care a lot about our communities, they deserve to have reliable publicly-run ferries to take them where they need to go,” says Jody Pringle, President of OPSEU/SEFPO Local 428. “We’re not asking for much, just for our wages to come up a bit so they compare to other jobs in our industry, to more easily recruit and retain staff. It’s a better deal for taxpayers than the $450 a day the government is currently paying to bring in agency staff.”
“The Wolfe Island ferry is a vital lifeline for residents and visitors,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President JP Hornick. “Our members have done a fantastic job working with residents to stand up for the ferry service their communities need and deserve. It’s time for the government to act: dump the costly contract with the temp agency and pay our members fairly so proper ferry service can be restored.”
“The ferries are part of the Ontario highway system and people in this area rely on them, especially Wolfe Island residents,” says Melissa Coenraad, OPSEU/SEFPO Region 4 Vice-President. “It’s time to stop contracting out our members’ work and attract permanent ferry workers with fair pay. That’s the solution.”