For the first time in the union’s history, members of Masters Mates and Pilots (MMP), the union which represents captains and mates, has taken a vote of no confidence in State Ferries management. The vote count, tallied yesterday, was overwhelmingly in support of the no confidence message.
Out of 130 ballots counted, 115 members voted: “We have resolved that we have No Confidence in Washington State Ferries leadership, policies, and general treatment of its Deck Officers.”
Union members tell us ferry management problems exposed in KING 5’s continuing investigation, “Waste on the Water”, was one of the reasons for the vote.
Last month the KING 5 Investigators aired a story showing that MMP union delegates had attempted to work with management six years ago to end a lucrative benefit for some of their own members. The benefit was for employees assigned to so-called “Special Projects.”
KING 5 discovered this group gets paid to drive to and from work, no matter how long the “Special Project” lasts. The delegates thought the perk was unfair to the majority of their members, but when they brought the issue to management in 2004, they were snubbed. The perk, which has cost the state millions of dollars, continued until the KING 5 Investigation exposed what was going on.
Sources within the MMP union tell us the special projects controversy is just one example of why they feel top managers are not listening to what the Captains and Mates have to say.
MMP Branch Agent, Capt. Tim Saffle, says management from State Ferries and the Department of Transportation are taking the vote seriously.
"Since learning that the members were taking this vote, management called for a meeting to address the issues and it was positive. They are obviously taking the concerns of the membership seriously,” said Saffle.
Other issues of concern for the Captains and Mates include management making sudden changes in training programs and job duties without consulting the union.