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Service + Solidarity Spotlight: MEBA Fights for Better Pay and Working Conditions for Staten Island Ferry Mariners

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Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we’ll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.

The Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (MEBA) is raising the alarm about New York City’s ability to attract and retain skilled mariners to work on the Staten Island Ferry. At the union’s urging, U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island sent a letter to Mayor Eric Adams, asking him to repair a broken wage structure that is compromising consistent ferry sailings, mariner retention and passenger safety.

MEBA, which represents captains, assistant captains, engineers and mates on the ferries, has pointed out that officers in the fleet work for much less than industry wages, with inadequate benefits, and have not received a pay increase in almost 11 years. “Nobody sticks around, they leave,” said MEBA Secretary-Treasurer Roland “Rex” Rexha, a former shop steward at the ferry system. “Why would they stay at the Staten Island Ferry when it’s not even close to industry wages?

This blog originally appeared at AFL-CIO on January, 20, 2022.

About the Authors: Kenneth Quinell is a Senior Writer at the AFL-CIO.

Aaron Gallant is the Internal Communications Specialist at AFL-CIO


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