BC Ferries union 'deeply disappointed' not to be included in front-line worker vaccination plan
VANCOUVER -- The executive director of the union that represents BC Ferries workers says members are "deeply disappointed" not to be included in the province's plan to provide COVID-19 vaccines to front-line workers.
Jack Bruckman says the BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union plans to lobby provincial legislators and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry for inclusion in the plan.
B.C.'s top health officials announced Thursday that teachers, grocery store workers and first responders would be among the groups prioritized for vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The groups announced Thursday were in addition to those Henry had previously announced, including employees at food processing plants, agricultural operations with congregate living arrangements and large industrial camps.
The province says it's targeting workers in high-risk industries or performing critical services with the AstraZeneca vaccine, while the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being used for B.C.'s age-based vaccination program.
Bruckman said the union believes ferry workers should be eligible for early vaccination as well.
"Ferry workers, every day, are providing essential goods and services throughout the province," the executive director said.
Bruckman, who uses they/them pronouns, was speaking to CTV News Vancouver Island by phone from Malcolm Island, a small island off the coast of Port McNeil that is primarily accessed by ferry. They pointed to such locations as evidence of the essential nature of BC Ferries and its employees.
"Ferry workers are at the front line," Bruckman said. "If the ferries are considered essential goods and services throughout the province, then the workers working on those ships should be considered as well."
Bruckman said the union plans to continue advocating for early vaccination for its roughly 4,000 members.
"We want our union members protected," Bruckman said. "They deserve to be."