Tuesday, December 22, 2015

BC Ferries, Marine Workers Ink 5-Year Contract

By Mark Edward Nero

BC Ferries, the service provider responsible for ferry service along coastal British Columbia, has ratified a new five-year contract with the BC Ferry & Marine Workers Union, both sides said Dec. 18.

The settlement took several months of extensive negotiations between the company and union representatives. Although the agreement was just ratified, it was reached in principle before the Oct. 31 expiration of the previous collective agreement. The union’s Provincial Executive and Ships’ Officers’ Component Executive endorsed the tentative agreement for ratification by the membership on Nov. 10.

“This is an historical vote,” union Provincial President Graeme Johnston said. “For only the fourth time in our union’s history has an agreement been reached without the intervention of a third party and before the expiration date of the contract.”

The terms of the new agreement are in place from Oct. 31, 2015 through Oct. 31, 2020. The agreement provides for 8.55 percent in wage increases over the five-year term of agreement, an average of 1.71 percent annually.

“The five-year agreement provides for fair and modest wage and benefit increases for our employees while continuing to provide an efficient and dependable service,” BC Ferries’ President and CEO Mike Corrigan said. “We thank the bargaining teams on both sides for their collaborative efforts.”

BC Ferry & Marine Workers’ Union is the largest marine union in Canada, representing more than 3,600 members from across 35 vessels, 47 ports of call and numerous other job sites. Its membership includes a diverse group of trades, ships officers, commercial services drivers and both ship and shore workers.

Economic Report: Vancouver USA’s Impact Grows

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Vancouver USA is generating $2.9 billion in total annual economic value across its region via cargo handled at the port’s marine terminals and revenue generated by industrial tenants, according to a recently released economic study.

The 2015 Economic Report, which was commissioned by the port and conducted by Pennsylvania-based Martin Associates, is an update of similar studies conducted in 2000, 2005 and 2010.

It states that the current growth is an increase of more than 81 percent from the economic value generated by the port in 2010.

In addition to maritime growth, growth of non-marine tenants – port businesses that don’t rely on shipping – and maritime activity at the port increased direct jobs by 900 and spurred a $42.9 million in increase in direct personal salary income since 2010.

The impact analysis is based on a telephone survey of 302 marine and real estate tenants and firms providing services to the marine terminals and represents a 100 percent sample of port tenants, as well as the maritime community serving the Vancouver marine terminals.

The full report provides an in-depth to look at how the Port of Vancouver’s role as an economic engine helps provide jobs, tax revenue and services in its community and across the Pacific Northwest.

The study, which was given during the Vancouver Port Commission’s Dec. 8 board meeting, is also meant to help the commission and staff members plan for the future as they attract industry, foster maritime activity and invest in infrastructure that supports local workers, families and businesses.

The full document can be seen at http://www.portvanusa.com/assets/POV-Total-Impacts-2015-final-11102015.pdf.

FMC Named Most Improved Small Agency

By Mark Edward Nero

The Federal Maritime Commission received an award for being the 2015 Most Improved Small Agency during a Dec. 8 ceremony recognizing the best places to work in the federal government.

The 2015 Best Places to Work report, compiled by the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte, provide a comprehensive rating of employee satisfaction across agencies in the federal government.

“I am extremely proud of the work the FMC has done to achieve this prestigious recognition,” Maritime Commission Chair Mario Cordero said in a prepared statement. “Our small but dedicated staff of 125 employees has one of the most important tasks in the country to ensure fair, efficient and reliable international ocean transportation for our nation.”

The report analyzes data from the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey and provides rankings in 14 categories. The Maritime Commission achieved positive gains in all 14 categories measured.

More than half of those categories saw double-digit improvement while Effective Leadership (Empowerment) saw the greatest gain with a 19.7-point increase over 2014. Scores for Strategic Leadership, Training and Development, and Support for Diversity were also among those measures receiving significant increases.

“I want to recognize the support of the Commissioners, senior executives, and the entire staff,” Cordero said. “I am fortunate to work with such a dedicated group committed to continuously improving our performance on behalf of the American public.”

Tacoma Port Commission President Picked

By Mark Edward Nero

On Dec. 17, the Port of Tacoma’s five-member commission chose member Connie Bacon as its president for 2016. Commissioners Don Johnson and Clare Petrich also were sworn in following their November re-elections.

Bacon, who was first elected to the Commission in November 1997, succeeds Johnson as president. She is a former executive director of the World Trade Center Tacoma and spent eight years as special assistant to former Washington Gov. Booth Gardner.

She also serves as adviser to the Asia Pacific Cultural Center and Fuzhou Committee, is co-founder of Water Partners Tacoma, and is a member of the Port of Tacoma Audit Committee. She’s also a member of the advisory board to the Port of Tacoma Endowed Chair at the University of Washington Tacoma.

In 2016, the Port of Tacoma Commission will have the following configuration: Connie Bacon, president; Dick Marzano, vice president; Don Meyer, secretary; Clare Petrich, first assistant secretary; and Don Johnson, second assistant secretary.

The port’s five commissioners serve four-year terms, with officer positions rotating yearly.