Town of Fogo Island

Ferry Connected Communities Committee-letter to Mr. Russell

Posted 10 September 2020, 10:10 am NDT

Brian Russell
Labour Relations Officer
Canadian Merchant Services Guild

Dear Mr. Russell,

We write to you today as a committee made up of ferry connected communities who continue to be gravely concerned about the impacts on our communities, businesses and residents related to the ongoing labour dispute between the Canadian Merchant Services Guild and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

We are requesting an urgent meeting with yourself as the representative of the Guild to discuss the matters at hand with the intent to restore the ferry service in a timely manner.

As you know from our letter last week to the Premier we are especially concerned that the human stories are not being heard by those in the decision-making process, I will not repeat them here, but we must now add to those stories the serious concerns for the safety of many who are taking to small boats to preserve employment, make medical appointments, address family concerns and tackle the common everyday problems that arise in our lives. Our businesses are also experiencing problems that not only bring hardships to our residents when basic goods and services are not being delivered but place their very survival at stake, which will also reflect on the continued viability of our communities. We believe it is of critical importance to dialog together in order to see beyond the labour dispute and cast a vision that reflects the whole picture of an essential service that meets the needs of the people being served.

As we enter into day 18 of the strike the outlook for our communities is grim. It is clear that every additional day of disrupted ferry service compounds the human and economic toll on our communities that have already been devastated by the events of 2020 including Snowmageddon and COVID-19. We look forward to meeting with you in very near future and we encourage the Guild, as the Premier has announced a desire to engage a conciliator, to swiftly return to the negotiating table demonstrating your good faith and commitment to a resolution of the dispute that is directly impacting the safety, well-being and livelihood of thousands of Newfoundlanders.

Town of Change Islands
Town of Fogo Island
Town of Pilley's Island (Long Island)
Town of Ramea
Town of St. Brendan's
Town of Wabana (Bell Island)

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.

Ben Noseworthy
Town Manager
Town of Wabana
(709) 488-2990 Office
(709) 770-1643 Cell