July 01, 2006
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has negotiated an agreement with the three maritime unions to continue operations of the M/V LeConte beyond June 30.
Under the agreement reached on Friday with the Masters Mates & Pilots, Marine Engineers Beneficial Association and Inland Boatman's Union, the ship will operate with a crew of 15.
Captain John Falvey, General Manager of the Alaska Marine Highway System, said negotiations were tough. "We are delighted that we have reached an agreement and are able to continue service to Alaskans in the Northern Panhandle."
In March the U.S. Coast Guard directed AMHS to operate the M/V LeConte in a manner that assures that crew get a minimum amount of rest. The state has been negotiating with the union since that time because changes in ship operations that affect crew staffing levels require modifying the existing contracts.
The state began operating the M/V Le Conte as a day boat in early June providing daytime ferry service between Juneau and Hoonah, Juneau and Angoon as well as additional service to Haines.
Prior to the Coast Guard directive, the LeConte was assigned the Northern Panhandle run from Juneau to Petersburg with stops in Angoon, Hoonah, Kake, Pelican, Sitka and Tenakee Springs and operated 24 hours a day with crew of 24.
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