Message From the President – December 3, 2021

December 3, 2021

Sisters, Comrades, Brothers,

That BC Ferries has been able to operate while implementing a Mandatory Vaccine policy is a testament to the hard work of every member of this Union. Whether shipboard, terminal, supply, support, drivers, or admin, every Union member is helping ensure Coastal British Columbia is serviced as Christmas approaches.

Over the past weeks, I have had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Ferry Association’s Regional Conference and the National Canadian Marine Advisory Council (remote). Both events highlighted the marine industry’s interest in technologies that can reduce staff levels through automation with a tenuous link to a green or less carbonised future for the shipping industry. While I enjoy the idea of Jetsons flying cars it is also important to remember that we are plying our waters in many vessels that are over 40 years old and we probably won’t be flying off into the “green” sunset with Flintstone era vessels. The real take away is that there are not enough skilled mariners at the price owners are willing to pay. Many employers are directing their attention away from retention and development of current employees to immigration and automation. In a time of labour scarcity, our value ought to be increasing in a competitive sector.

In Campbell River the Strathcona Gardens Recreation complex on the corner of S Dogwood St. and Pinecrest Rd. are currently on strike. USW Local 1-1937 appreciates any support on the picket line daily between 0700-1900. Should anyone want to donate food or gift cards to the workers who have been off work since 22 November, and won’t receive strike pay until 17 December, they can be dropped off on the picket line or cheques can be mailed into the USW office, 202-1509 Cliff Avenue, Courtney BC, V9N 2K6. These dedicated workers are faced with an employer who is continuing to operate using management instead of unionised workers in the ice arenas.

For any BCFMWU member currently affected or potentially affected by the current BCFS Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination policy please connect with your Local President for grievance support and information. Additionally, is available to answer questions and support members with information.

As of 1 December 2021, there is also a new benefit for BCFMWU members through Consult+ and My Canada Life at Work. To use any of the new services provided such as; 24/7 access to medical professionals, support for non-urgent health conditions, prescriptions and refills for most medications, requisitions for lab tests and follow-up test results, when medically needed.

For creating your Consult+ account, you will need to enter:

  • Plan number: 170688
  • Your member ID: This is the number on your benefit card

If you don’t have your benefit card handy, you can find your member ID on If you don’t have an online account for your benefits plan and don’t have your benefit card handy, phone 1-888-222-0775 for help.

In Solidarity

Eric McNeely
Provincial President


To view as a pdf: Message from the President – December 3, 2021