Occupy, Unions Shut Down Golden Gate Ferry

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A coalition of approximately 200 union members and people from the Occupy movement shut down the Golden Gate Ferry for eight hours today. The ferry serves approximately 6,000 daily between Marin County and San Francisco.

The protest was initially set to close down the Golden Gate Bridge, but the union coalition worked with Occupy members to move the protest to the ferry terminal in support of workers from the Inlandboatmen’s Union (IBU), who were striking today over increased healthcare costs.

“We are on strike to project our jobs and healthcare,” said IBU ferry worker, Rene Alvarado. “The same thing is happening to everyone. I see people getting laid off, and health care costs going up. It’s time for management to appreciate us the way that our passengers do.”

The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District is in contract negotiations over the increased health care premiums with a coalition of labor unions whose members work as ferry captains, deckhands, ironworkers, and bus drivers.

“The Golden Gate Bridge District now pays the entire premium for all of the workers’ healthcare,” said district spokesperson, Mary Currie. “That can get pretty pricey, so we’re asking that our workers pay a part of the premium that the District now pays.”

Ferry service resumed this afternoon, staffed by union workers, but the Teamsters said at today’s protest that they plan to shut down all Golden Gate Transit bus service on May 10 if contract issues with the District aren’t resolved.