Wednesday, May 31, 2023
HomeThe SocialJoe Biden tells Alaska governor to fully fund ferries

Joe Biden tells Alaska governor to fully fund ferries

(Corey Brown photo)

Joe Biden, Democratic candidate for president, has an opinion about the Alaska State budget. He’s telling Gov. Michael Dunleavy to fully fund the Alaska Marine Highway system. Dunleavy made some $78 million in cuts to the system, although a good deal of those cuts — about $35 million — have been restored by the Alaska Legislature in subsequent legislation this month.

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In a Twitter message that went out Friday, Biden says the “marine transit system in Alaska is vital to rural communities…”

“IBU is on strike to ensure this lifeline for Alaskans will continue to serve communities from Ketchikan to Kodiak,” Biden wrote, wading into the quicksand of what may be an illegal strike. Striking for political reasons is an unfair labor practice, and the Inland Boatmans Union has now indicated it’s striking to change state policy that has nothing to do with its contract.

“The governor must restore full funding immediately,” Biden wrote, trying to be helpful but actually sealing the case that Commissioner of Administration Kelly Tshibaka has been making, that the current strike is illegal.

[Read: IBU spokesman tips the hand of union — strike is about state funding cuts]


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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Biden has some nerve sticking his nose into Alaska’s business.

    Of course it’s only to throw his support behind the IBU’s illegal strike.

    Truly amazing that he is running for president, given the numerous videos of Creepy Joe inappropriately touching and kissing young girls.

    • Would you say the same of Americans for Prosperity? Of Donna Arduin?
      If you want a made in Alaska policy I would start by kicking out those interlopers. Dunleavy is just a mask for a group of wealthy, elite, out of state actors.

      • Millions of federal tax Dollars have been spent on the Alaska Marine Hiway System so all Americans, not just Alaskans have every right to an opinion on how the system should be funded.

  2. Since when does “sleepy joe” give direction to the State of Alaska? He really doesn’t care what happens in Alaska. The dim/socialist/wingnuts have recruited him to support their illegal strike. The entire fiasco is targeted at Alaskan citizens who elected Governor Dunleavy. One thing I have to say for the dim/wingnuts. They stick together and support ridiculous agendas, as long as other dim/wingnuts have put themselves in a bind or want to screw over the citizens. To hell with what’s right and what is fiscally responsible. It means nothing to Alaska’s ‘public employees” and supporting dim/wingnut/socialist ‘politicians’. biden’s attempted interference simply reinforces my opinion that the AMHS has gotten themselves in a legal bind and they’re trying to enlist the help of the “big time” wingnut. Does anyone know why IBU won’t accept a federal mediator? I’ll tell you. If a federal mediator is involved in an employer/employee controversy that has reached stalemate (impasse), the employer may offer their “best and final offer” to the ’employees. If it’s a reasonable offer with no valid counters, the employees are forced to take the “best and final offer” or face federal discipline and a voided stalemate, in favor of the employer. They (IBU) know they have no legal footing. If they can suborn state ‘legislators’ to their point of view, it only makes a stronger case for the ’employer’. IBU has no conscience, no sympathy for the very citizens who employ them. To them (IBU), it’s bend over citizens or deal with the illegal consequences. Even if it is forced by the feds, the ‘strike’ will have accomplished it’s goal of hurting the conservative citizens (and non conservatives alike). I think the illegal strikers deserve every spanking they get. Public employees’ unions, anyone? You’re seeing how they “benefit” the public.

    • They’ve used a federal mediator. Mediation is a predicate to impasse for so-called Class Two employees under the Public Employment Relations Act. The State and the union have gone back and forth over the years over whether marine highway employees are Class Two with a limited right to strike or Class Three with an unlimited right to strike. I really think it is a distinction without a difference because the only way to stop a strike by Class Two employees is to demonstrate to a court that the strike is a threat to public safety. A marine highway strike is inconvenient and costly, but it doesn’t threaten public safety. I don’t recall ever going to mediation with them in my time because mediation is also the predicate to enjoining them back to work and taking them to arbitration, and I always feared that my chicken political principals would lose their nerve and run to arbitration.

      Anyway, there is no last best offer scheme under PERA; the union brings their proposals and the employer brings theirs. Either the parties agree on a submission agreement that sets how the arbitrator considers the offers and it can range from article by article to whole proposal v. whole proposal, though that’s never been done, or failing agreement the arbitrator can pretty much make his/her own rules and basically write the agreement for the parties.

      In this case, were the State foolish enough to get to interest arbitration it would get its head handed to it because the comparable agreements would be the sweetheart deals that Walker made with the unions on his way out the door plus the giveaways to the supervisors and confidentials with the 40 hours paid week, a 6.7% raise in itself and all the goodies he gave the Troopers. Just recently, the State got its clock cleaned in interest arbitration with the Correctional Officers.

      I’ve advocated that it is an illegal strike and I would file the ULP but I wouldn’t do anything to force them back to the table or to move quickly; the State has already taken the hit. It’s time for the unions to take a hit. I would be in no hurry to get the system running again and the IBU can have a long, cold, hungry winter with no wages and no unemployment insurance.

      • Art,
        I’ve been reading that IBU is refusing to allow a federal mediator into the negotiation process. That’s typical in a private sector union for the reason I’ve stated above. I’m not too familiar with PERA and their negotiating procedures, except that I know they don’t have their employers’ (citizens) best interest at heart. I am familiar with private sector. Arbitration there is mostly for settling job/agreement disputes.

        • Millions of federal tax Dollars have been spent on the Alaska Marine Hiway System so all Americans, not just Alaskans have every right to an opinion on how the system should be funded.

  3. Former VP Biden should keep to himself. Past Obama Administration didn’t care about the AMERICAN people in the past 8 years they were in office. VP Biden does not need to meddle in Governor Dunleavy and his Administration’s decision(s) for the good of the STATE OF ALASKA.

  4. Good lord. May as well be endorsed by Hillary Clinton. Creepy Joe speaking on your behalf? And they think that’s a good thing? They are more screwed up than I thought.

  5. Let’s park one of these ferries here in Anchorage to house the homeless. May as well get some use out of them.

  6. My personal opinion is that no employee should be in a Union they don’t deserve guaranteed financial money or positions no private sector job is safe if you can’t do it right you get fired so it should be the same for a government job and from what I can see the private sector is stepping up and making sure that the citizens of the state are getting their transportation needs meet let Joe blow who doesn’t know what he’s talking about and pay the IBU traitors their salery from his own pocket we must take a stand with Governor Dunleavy to bring Alaska back to our historical foundation that we help each other in the love of Jesus Christ and not government handouts to those who believe they our owed something for doing nothing.

    • This right here, my friends, is proof that public education has already suffered far too many cuts.

  7. Uncle Joe was talking about the tooth fairy. Full funding please. That statement ought to get Joe the Gaffe 3 electoral votes. Only 267 more to go.

    • Hell, if Joe had Robert Mueller as his running mate, they could pull a combined IQ of 73, BEFORE they both test positive for Alzheimers.

  8. Joe Biden, it is sad that he is the front runner for the Democratic Party…he’s the best they got? Donald Trump is the President and the Democratic Party has Joe Biden as their best option.

  9. Southeast has the Inter-Island Ferry that is a private ferry that could expand its mission. Also private operations or private contracts could be sought to run a more efficient ops in the south east. Most communities have planes and other services that could be expanded. A ferry once or twice a week would not be too bad.

  10. Will be fun to watch the party of diversity and the pound me, too movement deal with a creepy old white guy, who has never accomplished anything in his wife except diddle with other people’s money, at top.

  11. Dear Corey Booker, I wish you stop running around to every news show talking about Biden. And what he did or did not do years ago, I don’t care. Biden has been fighting for my rights and your rights long before you got here so show some respect. You talk about how you always talk truth to power why not talk truth to power to Trump, that’s should be your focus. You talk about Biden’s 1990 crime bill and how so many people were locked up and so many families were broken up. Stop being stupid this is not Biden’s fault. Un 1980’s and 1990’s there was a crack epidemic and many women and men got hooked to this drug. Many were selling themselves and some tried to sell their babies. The only one who broke up peoples families was the drug dealers. So stop this foolishness and focus on Trump. If they would not have committed a crime they would not be in jail.

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