Tideline Gets an Extension

The Water Emergency Transportation Authority's board of directors has granted Tideline Marine Group a six-month extension of its agreement to use WETA's Harbor Bay Terminal.


Published: September, 2019

The Water Emergency Transportation Authority’s board of directors has granted Tideline Marine Group a six-month extension of its agreement to use WETA’s Harbor Bay Terminal.  

Tideline had originally requested a one-year add-on to its current deal, which expires August 25. The full-year request was incorporated into a presentation at the August board meeting by WETA’s operations administrator, Rachel Rodriguez, and the time frame was endorsed by WETA Executive Director Nina Rannells and Operations Manager Keith Stahnke.  

The term was reduced, however, in the face of board concerns about the nonunion status of Tideline’s employees, as well as the relatively few passengers on the Tideline run. Tideline provides service between Harbor Bay and Oyster Point in South San Francisco on behalf of the biotech firm Exelixis. The two morning and two afternoon runs average about 12 passengers per day in each direction, Rodriguez said. Tideline’s boat, the Osprey, has a capacity of 40 people.  

“I want to see that we’re taking care of working families in the Bay Area,” said WETA Director Jeff DelBono, whose initial counter-proposal called for an extension of only three months, pending progress in labor negotiations between Tideline and two maritime unions.  

Expressing sympathy for DelBono’s concerns was Jim Wunderman, vice chair of WETA’s board and president of the business group Bay Area Council, who said, “The last thing we would want is for highly paid individuals to be transported in comfort by hard-working people who are underpaid. We are not going to do this on the backs of people who do the work.”  

But Danielle Weerth, Tideline’s director of business development, said her company is, in fact, engaged in productive talks with the unions. “We are in the final stage of negotiations with labor,” she said.  

That view got at least a partial endorsement from Robert Estrada, regional director of the Inlandboatmen’s Union of the Pacific, who said: “The talks are cordial. I don’t know that we are in the final stages, but the tone is positive.”  

Weerth then added that Tideline is also in late-stage talks with other companies about providing additional passenger service, and she said her firm is building higher wages and benefits into the terms of those new deals. “People love the service,” she said of the Exelixis run.        

Ultimately, following nearly an hour’s discussion, WETA directors voted unanimously to approve the six-month extension. But it came with the stipulation that both Tideline and union representatives would make a new appearance before the board in January, more than a month before the new deal expires, to report on what progress they have may made.

Dan Rosenheim is a veteran Bay Area journalist who recently retired after 18 years as Vice President/News for KPIX-5 TV. Prior to going into broadcast, Rosenheim worked as a reporter, city editor and managing editor at the San Francisco Chronicle. Dan and his wife, Cindy Salans Rosenheim, live in San Francisco.