Ferry food vendor nears commissary opening in Bremerton
Source: Kitsap Sun
By: Ed Friedrich
Posted: July 17th, 2017
BREMERTON — Centerplate is nearing completion of a commissary where it will prepare and distribute food for state ferry galleys.
The renovation of a warehouse at the top of Werner Road, above auto center, is 95 percent finished and will open in August, said spokesman Paul Pettas.
“We mainly just need to put the finishing touches on the ceilings and sinks,” he said. “It will be a state-of-the-art facility where we can prepare locally sourced meals from a central location.”
Centerplate began a 10-year contract on Oct. 1 to provide galley and vending services on seven Washington State Ferries routes. Four of them — Bremerton, Bainbridge Island, Kingston and Southworth — originate in Kitsap. Vendors have been delivering packaged goods to the boats each day.
The commissary will create “an explosion of choice,” Pettas said.
“We will be able to get ingredients — especially local fresh produce — delivered for salads, sandwiches and other snacks,” he said. “This way, we can prepare everything there and really take what we offer to ferry riders to a new level. Our partners will continue to deliver packaged items for the routes each day, but the commissary will offer more options for how we prepare meals each day.”
The previous food vendor, Olympic Cascade Services of Bremerton, operated a commissary on Wycoff Avenue.
Centerplate is in the process of hiring a kitchen manager and four to six production workers for the commissary, Pettas said. The company also is planning to add about 30 galley workers on the ferries, bringing the total workforce to 160. Part-time, year-round galley crew member positions on the Bainbridge and Kingston boats are being advertised at $12 an hour.
The company and Inlandboatman’s Union haven’t agreed on a benefits package, which has been held up by health care insurance, but is “at the goal line” of a deal, Pettas said. He declined to comment further, and the union representative couldn’t be reached.
Centerplate, though not required under the Washington State Ferries contract, recognized the union from the beginning and quickly negotiated most issues. Finding health care agreeable to both sides was the sticking point. Options were too expensive for one side or the other or provides inadequate care. The company has offered health care to workers on its own and some have enrolled, Pettas said.
Once an insurance agreement is reached, a contract can be signed that is expected to include higher hourly wages, according to the union.