VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As more and more essential workers wait to become vaccinated against COVID-19 next month, B.C. Ferries employees are questioning why they didn’t make the list.
Last week, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the vaccine priority list, which included first responders, teachers, and grocery store workers among the 300,000 frontline workers given priority for shots next month.
However, BC Ferries employees were not added to the list.
Jack Bruckman the executive director for BC Ferry & Marine Workers Union, argues that ferry workers have been essential workers since day one of the pandemic.
“It really felt like a betrayal and a kick in the gut to not be considered,” they say.
Bruckman argues ferry workers have been providing essential transportation of goods and services since the onset of the pandemic, and they continue to be at risk.
“People are passing by that booth every day with that window open. Not all of them are wearing masks when they’re in the car coming by.”
Bruckman adds workers live and travel to isolated communities, which have been prioritized for immunization.
“You’ve got some remote communities that are only served by ferries. Without the ferries, not even medical staff can get to some remote islands.”
Bruckman says ferry workers have been following COVID-19 safety protocols and occupational health and safety regulations, including enforcing mandatory masks.
The union wants B.C. health officials to reconsider, especially following a recent employee-to-employee transmission at the Horseshoe Bay terminal last Friday.
– With files from Denise Wong