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A Staten Island Ferry passes the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor

Photo: Daniel M. Silva/Shutterstock

Staten Island Ferry Officers Secure New Contract After 13-Year Stalemate

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1918
September 6, 2023

After 13 years of negotiations, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association and the City of New York have finalized an agreement on a new contract for Staten Island Ferry licensed officers, bringing their wages in line with industry standards and making the ferry system the highest paying public ferry system in the country.

The agreement also includes retroactive payments and large increases for deck titles, and was easily ratified by the bargaining unit.

The M.E.B.A. represents all five officer titles at the Staten Island Ferry, including Captain, Chief Engineer, Marine Engineer, Assistant Captain and Mate, who have been without a contract since the previous contract expired November 7, 2010.

The Staten Island Ferry has increased the pay of its officers to match other ferry operations around the country, making it the highest paying public ferry system in the U.S. This move aims to recognize the skills and expertise of the officers, provide fair compensation, and address recruitment and retention issues.

The agreement includes a retroactive payment of wages for engineers dating back to the start of a 13-year negotiation period as part of a prevailing wage determination agreement reached in August 2022. The union also secured large increases for deck titles not included in the prevailing wage determination, including retroactive payments dating back to 2010 for Staten Island Ferry officers. The contract also establishes new salary rates, a 40-hour workweek, and a five-step salary schedule for M.E.B.A. employees hired or promoted after October 1, 2023. M.E.B.A.-represented employees will also be allowed to take vacation in one-week blocks for greater flexibility.

The contract was put out to the bargaining unit for a ratification vote last week and passed easily, with over 97% casting a ballot and almost 94% voting to accept.

M.E.B.A said the agreement rectifies the broken wage structure at Staten Island Ferries and will make the fleet a great place to work again.

“I am immensely proud of my membership for speaking up and refusing to accept anything less than what they deserve. They understand their value. They excel at their jobs, and they refuse to settle for mediocrity,” said M.E.B.A. Secretary-Treasurer Roland Rexha at a Labor Day event with NYC Mayor Eric Adams announcing the new contract.

“Today, we thank our tireless ferry workers, not just with words — but with a contract that delivers the fair wages and benefits they deserve,” said Mayor Adams. “Our nation has been suffering from a shortage of marine workers. We know that to attract and retain a talented workforce we must offer competitive wages and benefits that everyone can agree on. Thanks to this agreement, both our ferry workers and the working people of Staten Island can continue to ride forward without worry or interruptions.”

The new contract is now set to expire on January 4, 2027.

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