Now the crews running ferries in Seattle have started calling out, leading to major cancellations. The cause may be a protest to the state’s vaccine mandate coming due October 18.
The Seattle Times reported on Friday:
A chronic crew shortage at Washington State Ferries suddenly became a transportation debacle Friday, when the nation’s largest ferry system was forced to reduce service on seven of its 10 routes, while preparing for weeks of missed trips and frustrated passengers.
Approximately 140 sailings were canceled Friday, and several were late, in what the agency called “a rough service day due to lack of crew.”
Reductions this dire are unprecedented for WSF, which serves as many as 24 million passengers a year. Though summer tourism peaks have passed, travelers waited three hours for a ferry at the Edmonds dock Friday, and two hours in Mukilteo as of midday…
…Another factor may be Gov. Jay Inslee’s deadline of Oct. 18 for state workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, or risk losing their jobs. Rumors have circulated for weeks of sickouts, or a wave of people preparing to quit soon.
“We are aware of what is coming Oct. 18,” Fujioka said. “It’s obvious this is on the verge of becoming unsustainable — the crewing we already have.”
These callouts join the airline and air traffic controllers who have staged similar protests in recent days.
Freedom is not free.
UPDATE from K5 News:
Around 250 Washington State Ferries (WSF) employees are still unvaccinated against COVID-19 as Gov. Jay Inslee’s vaccine mandate deadline is less than two weeks away, according to information relayed to Ferry Advisory Committee members.
State employees are required to be vaccinated by Oct. 18 or risk losing their jobs. Experts worry a significant loss of employees could create major problems for WSF.