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  • Ali Bradley

Ferry Sailings Impacted by 'Severe Staff Shortages'

Washington State Ferries cancels some sailings, “Due to severe staff shortages”:

In a letter from the Inlandboatmen’s Union, “There are workers who have not or will not validate their vaccination status.” *I emailed a leading member of the union and have not heard back (as of 10/13).

In a “Quick Notice” sent to employees, WSF stated that the vaccine requirement “has led some staff to make difficult decisions regarding their continued employment with the agency.”

The employee shared the letter stating their religious accommodation was accepted but there were no positions available that the employee could do without being vaccinated.

WSF confirms to me 320 sailings were canceled last weekend from Friday to Sunday, “More than 150 sailings canceled due to lack of staff Friday, more than 120 Saturday and about 50 yesterday Sunday 10/10/21). Most of yesterday's were caused by a mechanical issue on the Pt Defiance boat rather than staff.”

WSF confirms some employees participated in some form of protest which is considered “unsanctioned labor action.” WSF says, “The fact that the situation became so widespread over the weekend has labor leaders, WSF management, and others in government acknowledging that there is likely a small minority of employees who participated in an illegal action…

As for what WSF will do moving forward, "…In order to keep a reliable schedule we may have to adjust the schedules to align with the resources we currently have. There will be some weeks of volatility until we are fully-staffed. There's a global shortage of mariners that is impacting the industry worldwide.”

WSF confirms employees would likely be paid overtime depending on their hours and situation.

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