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Staffing crisis on Wolfe Island Ferry leads to several hours’ shut-down

The Wolfe Island Ferry was shut down for several hours on Sunday, October 16 due to staff shortages – two days after ferry workers from Glenora and Wolfe Island ferries leafletted passengers at both Glenora Ferry docks about the staffing crisis.

CTV News interviewed OPSEU/SEFPO Local 428 Vice President Lee MacLaren, who explained why there are staffing shortages on the ferries to begin with.

“Our wages are considerably lower than the industry standard,” said MacLaren. “So people applying for jobs don’t apply with us anymore because the pay is so low to start. And we’ve actually had a number of people quit in the past few months.”

Instead of offering competitive wages to Ministry of Transportation (MTO) ferry staff, the Ford government has recently contracted out ferry work to Reliance Offshore, a for-profit, out-of-province temp agency that charges up to twice as much as MTO ferry staff earn. It’s a huge waste of public funds on a temporary band-aid solution that doesn’t fix our ferry system or provide good jobs locally.

Ferry workers from Local 428 have been handing out flyers to Wolfe Island and Glenora ferry passengers and gathering signatures on petitions throughout the Greater Kingston and Prince Edward County areas. They’re calling on the Premier and Ministry of Transportation to do the following:

  1. Fix our ferries: stop the service disruptions caused by understaffing.
  2. MTO must honour their collective agreement with OPSEU Local 428. Stop wasting money on expensive private temp agencies. Hire permanent MTO ferry workers to work and live in our communities.
  3. Repeal Bill 124 which has imposed a 3-year wage cut on ferry workers during high inflation, and pay them fair, competitive wages.

Click here to download the “Fix our Ferries” flyer (PDF).

Click here to download a petition to the Ontario Legislature – please mail original copies to the address on the petition form. (Only original signatures are accepted by the Ontario Legislature.)

Contact the Premier and Minister of Transportation today:

Tell them to fix our ferries!

Hon. Doug Ford

Hon. Caroline Mulroney
Minister of Transportation

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