Alaska Ferries-Labor Dispute

Alaska Marine Highway System workers strike with the Inlandboatmen's Union of the Pacific after failing to reach agreement on a contract with the state of Alaska, Wednesday, July 24, 2019, in Ketchikan, Alaska. (Dustin Safranek/Ketchikan Daily News via AP)

KODIAK — As I’m sitting down to write this column, we are heading into our second week of the Inlandboatmen’s Union strike, which has essentially shut down the Alaska Marine Highway System and stranded hundreds of Alaskans and tourists during the busiest travel season of the year.  Here in Kodiak, the M/V Tustemena is still docked while IBU members picket on shore, and the state on Wednesday said that Alaska is losing about $200,000 a day.

But the workers deserve reasonable pay and benefits, and I can’t wait to see how they fare in negotiations against the state’s labor relations manager, Jared Goecker, a 25-year-old who the governor appointed a couple months ago to handle these kinds of issues. Before working for the Dunleavy administration, Goecker’s most recent job was as an apartment manager. No wonder IBU went on strike.

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