Staten Island Ferry is returning to its normal schedule

The Staten Island Ferry returned to a normal schedule Thursday and will run boats every 15 minutes during rush hour beginning at 5 p.m., the city said.

According to the city, operations were halted overnight from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. due to an influx of ferry workers calling. Staten Island Ferry Service resumed hourly service Thursday at 6 a.m.

The ferry ran every hour instead of every 15 minutes on Wednesday evening.

The mayor initially blamed a national labor shortage for the reduced service on Wednesday, but alleged ferry workers also failed to show up for work.

“We’re saying to the workers who didn’t come today, unless you’re sick, New Yorkers need you to come to work,” Adams said in the statement. In recent weeks, the Ministry of Transport accused COVID-19 cases for staff shortages and benefit cuts, but the mayor didn’t say if that was a cause of Wednesday’s disruptions.

Later Wednesday, when asked at the terminal if workers were staging sick leave, Adams said he wasn’t sure.

The union, the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association, said the labor shortage was “entirely due to severely overworked and understaffed crews”.

Roland Rexha, secretary and treasurer of MEBA and a former Staten Island Ferry employee, criticized the city’s “refusal to offer a contract that reflected the highly skilled and essential work of the ferry officers and seafarers.” Ferry employees have been working under an old contract and negotiating a new one for more than a decade.

“We have continued on duty under the most stressful and painful circumstances as our crew continues to feel the tremendous financial pain and work stress of the pandemic and its aftermath,” Rexha said in a statement. “The union is not aware of any intentional service disruptions, nor would we support action to slow this essential service to our beloved Staten Islanders.”

Though Adams claims it’s a problem he inherited when he became mayor, some elected officials said the staffing issue should have been a higher priority.

“While the mayor’s office has emphasized that they are working as quickly as possible to address this dispute, service cuts have become increasingly common and should have been a top priority in the early months of this administration, when I and other Staten Island officials did have it.” highlighted,” MP Nicole Malliotakis said in a statement on Thursday.

In January, Malliotakis, who is a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation subcommittee, sent Adams a letter expressing her concern “regarding ongoing labor issues within the Staten Island ferry system.”

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