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

      This is the PSCO negotiation hotline message for the week of May 21st 2017. The Union and the Company met on May 22nd and May 23rd for general negotiations. During the two days, there was more discussion surrounding the Design department. The Union Committee asked several more questions to the Company about their answers to Union’s information request regarding statements that have been made, by the Company, about errors and inefficiencies in the design department.

      The highlights of the Union’s proposals include, adding a 30-day response time to the Company for First Step Grievances.  Currently the Company doesn’t have a specified time frame and the Union feels the Company has been abusing it.

      The Union proposed to remove the Non-scheduled worker classification language for High Pressure Gas. This is old language and it is not used anymore.

      The Union also proposed to remove the 6-month "hold" rule when an employee transfers; this rule is being abused by the Company and it is no longer necessary.

      The Company’s proposals included one for core workforce numbers, which included an aggregate number for Electric Distribution, System Operations (excluding Transmission Lines), and Energy Supply. The result of their new proposal is a reduction of 125 employees total among these departments.  Electric Distribution and Energy supply are the two being hit the hardest.

      A proposal to delete the 2.25 meal clause, as well as the meal after a shift and replace it with a $65.00 flat rate.

      Their proposal for call out response for System Operations, Electric, and Gas Departments is as follows: The Company wants a minimum of a 90% call out response rate for the calendar year. This will be reviewed quarterly and non-compliance can result in discipline up to and including termination. There was a lot of discussion on this proposal and the Union asked many questions, including what if you take care of your child, or a sick wife, or coach your kids in youth sports; do they expect the older work force to cover all the time??  The Union believes the Company has no regard for your personal life or family and wants you to be available for work at their beck and call!  9 out of the 10 times the Company calls you, they expect you to be there.

      The Company also proposed to get rid of medical excused absence, claiming this is old language that no longer applies.

      They also proposed an entry level position for the GER and a 5-year requirement to stay in the department after that person journeys out. Several things were discussed, mainly that there isn’t an Apprenticeship for GER only. Business Manager Eppie Martinez explained to the Company that the line of flow into the Gas Department is from Utility Services and that the Company does not hire enough Utility Workers to keep up with the demands of the different Apprenticeship programs. Eppie said the Union has tried to work with the Company and has offered many solutions, in the past, for this issue but the Company continually puts up road blocks.

      The Company proposed to have the High-Pressure Gas journey level workers be the first responders for inside gas leaks when a GER or a Distribution Journeyman isn’t available. The Union’s main concern is for the safety of our members and the public.  After discussion on this proposal, the Union feels strongly that the Company has a serious man power shortage and by putting an employee in an unfamiliar area with an unfamiliar task it could lead to a dangerous situation for members as well as the public. This also puts High Pressure Gas on two call out lists. The Company said they will put together a training program for these individuals. Eppie told the Company they already have a training program in place, it’s an Apprenticeship Program.  He told the Company they need to hire more Distribution Journeymen!

      The Company proposed to bypass seniority for the Working Foreman classification in the High-Pressure Gas department.

      The Negotiating Committee has worked tirelessly and used any means possible to ensure the M&M retiree medical benefits remained past May 31, 2017. Unfortunately, the Company proposed to abolish all retiree medical, including the RSA-SSS. The RSA money is a vested contribution under ERISA ACT but the SSS- Social Security Supplement is not! When the company was asked if the employees will get their SSS money upon retirement the company stated NO! During our discussion on their proposals, the Company said that our benefits are too rich and that “they don’t think benefits keep or attract employees.” THE UNION DISAGREES!

      From our best estimates, there is over $300 million dollars in an irrevocable trust fund, specifically for PSCO retirees hired before July1st 2003, to pay for retiree medical, which the rate payers funded.  When asked what the Company planned to do with that money, there response was “what is legally allowed for.”  When Eppie asked what that was, THE COMPANY’S OWN LAWYER said “These are legal questions that we can’t answer.” If their lawyer can’t answer these questions, then who can???

      Rich Meisinger explained the jobs that are performed at PSCO are not the types of jobs you can do until you are 65 years old, they are physical and demanding.  This money is deferred compensation that the Company is trying to take away from their employees. What are they going to tell the person who is about to retire in 2 years?!

      When the Company wants you to volunteer for their day of service or when they want you to participate in their rodeos think about this…Xcel Energy’s Executive Management collected HUGE raises in 2016 and they think your retiree benefits are too rich?!  More importantly they want to take something away from you that doesn’t cost them any money, the question is:  what are they going to do with the hundreds of millions of dollars in the VEBA?

      Please attend your Union meetings for a more detailed explanation.

      http://www.ibew.org/media-center/Articles/17Daily/1705/170501_PhotoContest2017
      http://www.fightforamericanjobs.org/check-the-label/

      This is the Public Service Company of Colorado General Negotiations Hotline Update

        The Next Scheduled Negotiations are May 8th. 

      Please stay informed of the status of these negotiations by using the PSCO Hotline, the Local Union Webpage, PSCO Negotiations Tab and by attending your scheduled Unit Meetings.

      Your voice is extremely important and needs to be heard!  

      In Solidarity,

      Epifenio J. Martinez

      Business Manager/Financial Secretary

      EJM:mm/ds/opeiu#30/afl-cio

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