The MTD-affiliated Marine Engineers Beneficial Association just secured a massive win for their members. Following over a decade of talks with several successive city administrations, the M.E.B.A. reached an agreement with the City of New York for officers aboard the Staten Island Ferry.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams congratulated the union on their victory. “Today, we thank our tireless ferry workers, not just with words — but with a contract that delivers the fair wages and benefits they deserve,” Adams added. “We know that to attract and retain a talented workforce we must offer competitive wages and benefits that everyone can agree on.”
Previously, these officers were being paid significantly less than their counterparts at other ferry operations around the country. This wage adjustment not only recognizes the skills and expertise of the ferry officers but also ensures fair compensation for their work and should relieve recruiting and retention issues that are currently plaguing the ferry system.
The agreement also includes a retroactive payment of wages to the engineers as part of a settlement of a prevailing wage determination that the M.E.B.A. won on behalf of its members in August of 2022. Those members will receive compensation for the difference between their previous wages and the rates in the new agreement, amounting to six-figure back payments in some cases.
The union also secured large increases above the city pattern for the deck titles that were not part of the prevailing wage determination. This also includes retroactive payments dating back to 2010.
M.E.B.A. leadership and city officials announced the deal aboard the Dorothy Day ferry on Labor Day. At this event, M.E.B.A. Secretary-Treasurer Roland Rexha offered a fitting summary of the union’s victory:
“On this Labor Day in 2023, we have achieved a remarkable feat — transforming the lowest paid ferry jobs in the nation into the highest paid. This accomplishment was made possible by our members transitioning to a 40-hour work week, providing immediate relief, and resolving staffing shortages. Now, New York City can offer the reliable service that Staten Islanders truly deserve.”