Ferry sails back to Whittier following end of union strike
The Alaska Marine Highway System re-opened for business Sunday afternoon at the Whittier Ferry Terminal.
The MV Aurora arrived on its first voyage from Valdez since the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific strike ended Friday. Passengers lined up to get on board the ship for the first time in nearly two weeks.
"It's a relief because I had obligations back in Cordova and I didn't think I was going to be able to make them," said passenger Bruce Tiedeman.
Another passenger, Rick Johnson has been stranded because of the strike.
"It feels pretty good, we were supposed to be out of here a week ago Saturday," Johnson said. "It's good to get back to work."
Mike Wallette, who owns the Oceanfront Café, also looks to rebound from what he says was a 33% drop in business due to the strike.
"As a business owner, I'm glad to see we have customers back in the town of Whittier," he said.
Perhaps no one is happier to see the ferry than one of Wallette's customers, Vicky Hamm who was going home to Cordova on the Aurora.
"For me it's quite important because I have an elderly father waiting at home, and my husband's taking care of him, so I need to go and be with my dad again," she said.
The State of Alaska issued roughly $3.5 million in refunds due to the ferry workers’ strike. That’s for about 8,300 passengers and 2,300 vehicles.
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