Strike update: $1.2 million in tickets refunded to 3,000 people


(Photo by Corey Brown: The Kennicott is towed by the Ethan B. for routine maintenance in this recent snapshot in Ketchikan.)

As of Thursday evening, the total refunded Alaska Marine Highway fares reached $1.2 million for some 3,000 stranded ferry passengers. The lost fares include passage of 700 cars on the ferries during the peak of tourism season.

Some portion of this will get funneled back into the economy as air fare and payments to other alternate carriers, as people try to navigate their way around the region.

Some of it — those fares originating in Bellingham, for example — may be lost to the economy as families cancel their trips to Alaska. Other fares are

“People will never trust the ferry system again, said one ferry critic in Juneau. “If this is our highway, then these are bandits, putting up a blockade on our highway.”

While the tourism effect of the lost independent traveler sector is unknown, overall Alaska cruise capacity is up more than 15 percent in 2019, with another rise expected in 2020.

Over 1.2 million cruise passengers are heading to Alaska this year. It’s the second record-breaking year since the tourism head tax was rolled back by the Alaska Legislature in 2011.

Earlier story:

Strike update: State has refunded $584,000 in ferry tickets




  1. The Administration was aware of this potential issue a number of months ago and did not address the matter. Where is Art Chance when you need him?? The best there ever was!!!

  2. Hear, hear. Send Art down to Juneau to clean up that labor mess. Get those blue canoes back on schedule.

  3. The state really screwed up this time. All they had to do is offer ferry workers a fair contract and this never would have happened.

    • What exactly was unfair about the contract offers proposed over five years by two administrations?

  4. This is an odd position to take here at MRAK considering that the Dunleavy Administration has tipped their hand about eliminating AMHS altogether.


    It’s almost like acting precipitously has consequences.

  5. The State of Alaska is allowing this to happen particularly DOA Commissioner Kelly and Dot Commissioner John MacKinnon.

  6. Why were they not prepared to keep things moving if and when this happened? This was not an unknown issue. DOT has a responsibility to keep our transportation system running safely. This is unacceptable.

  7. Well, the Island Dwellers of Southeast Alaska will be mad. They won’t be able to go to Costco in Anchorage two or three times a week year-round. I mean what was the Governor thinking not giving people who mop the decks of state ferries a 9% raise. It is such a highly certified position that not many could do the job. I might have to rethink my vote when he runs for re-election. I will be taking names of all the private-sector workers that got a 9% raise so I can show the list to the Governor. I’ll be waiting, not holding my breath, tho. I believe the union should get some new advice from someone that is not living under a rock in Juneau. Art, we need you.

  8. What a huge dilemma the Alaska Marine highway employees and travelers are going through with this strike gong on. A 9% raise seems small compared to the 1.2 million in refunds made to People that had planned to travel on the Alaska Marine highway. Plus leaving people stranded throughout the communities in Alaska. What is the state thinking that this is a good thing for the communities in Alaska to stop the ferry system because they cannot come to an agreement on wages. The people in Alaska will not count on the Alaska Marine highway anymore after this is over. The governor wanting to get rid of the Alaska Marine highway altogether is unfair to the communities and travelers. If you’re short on money governor start adding other fees to those crew ships the dump their waste in our Alaska waters. It’s very sad to see Alaska going through this right now I hope it turns out for the better.

  9. So how much do these ferry workers make that they need a 9% raise over 3 years? How many live in Alaska?

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