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Unifor locals demand fairness for Marine Atlantic workers

Marine Atlantic ferry at sea at dusk
May 19, 2021 - 12:00 AM

May 19, 2021

NORTH SIDNEY—Continued random alcohol testing of Marine Atlantic workers is a flagrant privacy violation and contradicts newly-established labour precedent, says Unifor.

“The continued testing by Marine Atlantic is a clear violation of workers’ privacy and the arbitrator studying this issue agrees,” said Brian Jobes, Local 4285 President. “We have escalated this issue to the highest levels of our union.”

On April 16, 2021 arbitrator Bruce Outhouse concluded random alcohol testing of Canadian Merchant Service Guild (CMSG) members working at Marine Atlantic is a privacy violation. The company has agreed to stop the testing CMSG members but has continued testing Unifor members in the same workplace.

“Any reasonable employer would apply this ruling to the entire workplace,” said Linda McNeil, Unifor Atlantic Regional Director. “Continued testing is a slap in the face to Unifor members and we are already planning our response. This isn’t over.”

Unifor National President Jerry Dias has contacted the office of Marine Atlantic CEO Murray Hupman to attempt to clear up the matter.

The union is asking members to protect themselves from disciplinary action by refraining from taking individual action during negotiations. Should the matter remain unresolved, significant collective action with the support of our national union is a certainty, said Jobes.

Local 4285 represents unlicensed deck, engine room, and passenger services members as well as shore-based maintenance at Marine Atlantic. Local 4286 represents supervisors of passenger services department at Marine Atlantic.

For media inquiries or to arrange interviews via Facetime, Zoom, or Skype please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at or 778-903-6549 (cell).