Dear Brothers and Sisters:
The System Council - U8 and Duke Energy have been in negotiations since about the 5th of January 2015. During that time, the Union has bargained in good faith to meet the needs of the Company while optimizing the outcome for the bargaining unit workers that will staff the soon to be built Citrus Combined Cycle production facility. The Union has been upfront and honest with the Company about our rejection of seniority restrictions from the very beginning of negotiations. The Company has repeated over and over that they do not want to honor seniority and instead want a 21st century workforce where they pick and choose what employees are assigned work based upon any criteria they determine, except seniority. There are a lot of other names that we would call that good old boy system which are not suitable for publication in this article.
Diminishment of seniority in regard to job bidding, job awarding, and job advancement is a concept that is taken very seriously by the Union. We have only been willing to compromise seniority on very limited bases such as indenturement and roll protection when there are equitable trade-offs from the Company. Your Union has refuted that seniority restrictions past the point of full commercial operation are necessary for successful operation of the Citrus production facility. In fact, we have asked for specific examples of how seniority is detrimental to the operations of the Company or their success and we have been provided with virtually no examples.
Yesterday at 1:00 pm I told the Company that we were going to need them to move on the issue of seniority by providing unrestricted access to Production department seniority under the System Council - U8. To be clear, we are not telling the Company that we are at impasse. What we are telling the Company is that we have a lot of work put into other issues and we will be happy to address all of their concerns after we work through open access to seniority during post commercial operation. The Company’s response was to tell us that they were unwilling to compromise any further on seniority and they would call us if they intend on continuing negotiations.
At this point, we are ready and willing to negotiate in good faith, like always. We are expecting the Company to respond with some sort of fair and equitable solution to this problem. This will have to be real movement with real concessions; not just meaningless verbiage that essentially says we’ll give you seniority benefits if we see fit. We have addressed every reasonable concern that management has about seniority through explanations and the use of legitimate examples.
During the foreseeable future please be aware that Management may contact you to discuss the issue. Listen to what they have to say and report that up through the chain of Union structure so that we can compile all of the statements. If management says anything to you please write it down immediately and forward all of those notes along with your name and telephone number, to your Steward. Ultimately those pieces of evidence will get to my office where I will gather and compile them for reference.
Your elected System Council - U8 officials, the Committeemen, have worked tirelessly on these negotiations putting in up to sixteen hours a day to bring these negotiation efforts to a resolution. I cannot say enough about their professionalism and dedication. Please thank them the next time you meet with them. I am very thankful for their commitment.
Please refer to both this blog and your Union meetings for future updates. I thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Business Manager of System Council - U8.
Business Manager, IBEW System Council - U8
Tuesday, March 03, 2015