Clipper Navigation, Inc., a subsidiary of Förde Reederei Seetouristik based in Seattle Washington, provides transportation and tour packages in Victoria, Seattle and Vancouver.
The company operates the Victoria Clipper V high-speed passenger-only ferry service between downtown Seattle to the Inner Harbor in downtown Victoria.
In 2016, Clipper Navigation was acquired by Förde Reederei Seetouristik (FRS) of Flensburg, Germany. FRS announced plans to expand the company’s service to include routes between Victoria and Vancouver and between Florida and Cuba.
But contract disputes and service disruptions would be new to the Clipper service.
The German company who purchased the service has been more difficult to work with, says Unifor – the union that represents the employees of the Victoria-Seattle ferry.
Today, Unifor Local 114 members at the Victoria-Seattle ferry service have voted 100% in favor of taking legal strike action on Sunday, September 3 if a fair contract cannot be reached before then.
“Unless the employer shows up to the bargaining table with a fair offer, the Victoria Clipper will be anchored on one of the busiest tourism weekends of the year,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President.
“Ferry workers deserve a fair contract and will take job action if negotiations continue to stall.”
Unifor has begun outreach to local businesses and festivals on both sides of the border who rely on international tourism. Customers who do not want to risk being stranded can cancel reservations by email or phone.
Standard fares are fully refundable for cancellations received two or more days prior to travel.
Clipper workers are seeking to negotiate fair wage increases, adjustments to the scheduling system, and better job security. Local 114 applied for the assistance of a conciliator to help close the gap between the parties, but during the entire 60-day conciliation period, the company only agreed to meet for three days.
“Good jobs and fair wages are pivotal to building a thriving tourism industry,” said Gavin McGarrigle, Unifor Western Regional Director. “The Victoria Clipper is no exception. The company must negotiate a fair contract or risk total service disruption.”
Contract disputes and service disruptions would be new to the Clipper service.