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Petitions supporting MTO ferry workers to be presented at Queen’s Park today

March 27, 2023

TORONTO – 1,000 Kingston and Prince Edward County area residents have signed a petition demanding that the Ministry of Transportation stop the service disruptions to the Wolfe Island and Glenora ferries by hiring more ferry workers and retaining them with fair, competitive wages.

The petitions will be presented at Queen’s Park today by MPP Jamie West, NDP Opposition Labour Critic.

The following OPSEU/SEFPO leaders and ferry workers will be at Queen’s Park today to bring their message to MPPs directly:

  • JP Hornick, OPSEU/SEFPO President
  • Jody Pringle, Local 428 President and Glenora Ferry worker
  • Lee MacLaren, Local 428 Vice President and Wolfe Island Ferry worker
  • Melissa Coenraad, OPSEU/SEFPO Regional Vice President, Region 4 (Eastern Ontario)
  • Chrisy Tremblay, OPSEU/SEFPO Executive Board Member, Region 4 (Eastern Ontario)

The Ontario government manufactured the understaffing crisis by paying MTO ferry workers far below industry standard wages. They compounded the problem with Bill 124, which forced an effective pay cut on all public sector workers for three years during massive inflation.

“Instead of raising ferry workers’ wages to competitive levels in order to attract full-time permanent staff, the Ministry decided to pay an out-of-province temporary staffing agency two to three times more than unionized MTO ferry workers earn,” said Jody Pringle, Local 428 President.

During the past two years, the ferries have been so understaffed that the Wolfe Island ferry service has been cancelled for hours at a time, stranding residents on the Island. The Glenora ferry was forced to cancel 15 minute service last summer at the height of tourist season, creating huge line ups on both sides of the ferry.

“We’re at Queen’s Park today so that our elected MPPs can see and talk to these ferry workers from Local 428,” said JP Hornick, OPSEU/SEFPO President. “We’re here to call on the Minister and the Premier to do the right thing: pay ferry workers competitive wages so we can attract and retain permanent ferry staff, and end the outrageously expensive contracts with private temp agencies. Enough is enough.”

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Media contacts:
Jody Pringle, Local 428 President: 613-583-0501
JP Hornick, OPSEU/SEFPO President: 416-806-9526