IBEW Local 111
Colorado - Washington - Wyoming
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    << May 2017 >>
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    • What's New at IBEW 111


      The Company and the Union met on Thursday, April 20th and Friday April 21st, whereas various proposals were exchanged across the table.  The Union had many questions for the Company surrounding their proposals, which were given to us at the last negotiations session.  There was a lot of dialogue, which resulted in follow up questions, and more dialogue.  The question that was asked repeatedly by Business Manager Eppie Martinez was; “How is this good for the membership, and how do I sell this to them?  The Company’s standard response was. “I can’t tell you how to do that.”  In other words, the Company knows that their proposals are outlandish.

      Eppie and the Negotiating Committee had several questions for the Company surrounding Retiree Medical.  First and foremost, “What happens to the employees that retire after May 31, 2017?”  The Company’s answer was that it needs to be negotiated, they made it clear they are NOT certain if it will be a part of the future Collective Bargaining Agreement.  And, they WOULD NOT answer any other questions.  At this point, Eppie gave the proposal to vest retiree medical, which was followed by more discussion. Just so our members are clear, the Company communicated to us that they think retiree medical is an UNNECESSARY Benefit.  Your Negotiating Committee reiterated to the Company that retiree medical funds were approved by the PUC in 1993, and that it was promised to our membership from that point forward. The Company rejected the Union’s proposal to vest retiree medical.  The question was asked to the Company, “What about the individuals that have already retired?  Does the Company think they can change their retiree health benefit?   The Company’s response was that the plan provision could change, there is plenty of litigation on that, and the retirees are not covered by the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

      There was a lot of discussion surrounding the Company’s proposal to end Interest Arbitration.  When the proposal was rejected by the Union, the Company stated that it wasn’t a proposal, it was a notice to the Union and that the Company intends to terminate the Interest Arbitration language. The Union asked why the Company wanted to abolish the Interest Arbitration language, and they responded they had lost confidence in the process.

      The Company also proposed to delete the automatic 60-day contract extension. The Union asked the Company several times what they thought would happen at the expiration of the contract during the next negotiations if the Union wasn’t able to present a proposal to the affected membership?  Their response was a curt “whatever the law allows.”  We again asked the question, whereupon the Company’s Attorney interjected for them that “we are not here to answer interrogative questions, ask your own Attorneys.”  Just another deflection on the Company’s part.

      The Company proposed that the Union surrender their rights to Check Off and our Union Security Clause, post contract expiration, yet allow them to retain Management Rights.  Both of these items have been clearly defined by the National Labor Relations Board, per the Act.  When they were asked why would we give up our rights? and, How could they propose such language contrary to the Act? their answer was strictly that they believed the NLRB got these decisions wrong!  For your protection, and to be clear, we rejected those proposals as well.  To be transparent, this is described as Union Busting 101!

      The Union rejected in total 6 of the Company’s proposals, one other worth noting is the 45/60 day go back rule in a transfer or promotion that the Company proposed to delete.

      Today, the Company gave us 10 more proposals, many of which included language to increase other classification duties from one classification to the other.  For example, expanding the type of electric meters’ linemen can set; allowing Electric Meter employees in underground transformers to terminate services; and, having an entry level classification in High Pressure Gas perform their facility locates (This is currently done by the Journey level classifications because of the hazards associated with excavating around high pressure gas lines, and the stand by provision that is necessary for many of these excavations).  In our opinion the reason for the job duty increases in these classifications, is due to the Company’s shortage of manpower and failure to hire more employees.

      The Company also proposed language for the Designer Planner Technician Department, which included the language:

      “To enter or PROMOTE into a Designer, Planner or Technician position, the employee will be required to have a 2-year technical degree or higher degree in a subject deemed relevant by the Company.”

      At the conclusion of today’s Negotiations, the Union offered an additional 3 more days in May for availability to further these Negotiations.  As of now we are scheduled to continue May 1st.

      Please watch for Stewards’ News Briefs, check the Local Union webpage:  www.IBEW111.org, and call the PSCO Negotiations Hotline to keep informed on what is happening with your General Negotiations.

      Information will be forthcoming regarding a SOLIDARITY meeting on Saturday, May 20, 2017, commencing at Noon, at the Union hall. This will be an open forum meeting to answer any questions you will have regarding the status of these Negotiations.

      In Solidarity!


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