August 26, 2016
Brothers and Sisters,
System Council U8 and The Company reached an agreement today on a Memorandum of Understanding that will provide Reverse Seniority Severance opportunities for certain classifications being downsized within the Production Department. We also reached an agreement on a Memorandum of Agreement that will provide Apprentice Operator opportunities for Journeymen impacted by the downsizing.
Despite these agreements, today is not a joyous day of celebration for members of IBEW Local 433. As you all are well aware, we provide labor for The Company; this is all we do. When our members are told that their labor is no longer wanted or needed, we have nothing else to offer. We’ve seen this several times in the recent past as The Company has made decisions to close plants or reduce staffing due to technological advances. These scenarios are understandable and in some ways justifiable. Our members have prepared for the closing of plants for years and braced for the inevitable closing of coal plants on the very near horizon.
We’ve heard stories about coal plants being insignificant, inefficient and no longer economical to maintain and operate. We’ve been told about our work no longer being important or a priority to The Company. We’ve heard about changes in our industry and how we must cut jobs across the board to get more in line with the enterprise. We’ve learned new terms like “shared pain” and “outlier”.
Brothers and sisters, these things are not the reason we are losing 105 Bargaining Unit jobs. Our jobs are being eliminated for 1 reason: greed. Pure 100% Corporate greed. When a Corporation doesn’t make its earnings per share target, the CEO and executives don’t make the compensation that they expect or believe they are entitled to. When that happens, labor gets cut. Brothers and sisters, we are losing 105 Bargaining Unit jobs because of things that happened in other states, and how that impacted executive compensation and bonuses. We were blamed and are taking the brunt of the “shared pain” because we were called an “outlier”. This is nothing more than a convenient term to describe a site that doesn’t fit the “enterprise” cookie cutter mold. We are an outlier, not because we have (9) miles of conveyor belt, not because we have coal delivered a mile from the base load units, not because our coal yard is bigger than any other in the “enterprise”. No brothers and sisters, we are an outlier because we have 150 more people working on our site than any other coal site in The Company.
The truth is, we are an outlier. After all, we lead the “enterprise” in every measurable statistic, despite our challenges. And the work isn’t going away. It’s just being re-allocated away from the Bargaining Unit. It’s no coincidence that as the Bargaining Unit continues to shrink, the Outage Group and contractors on our site continue to multiply. Inevitably, we are left with no choice but to do more with less or give up our work.
No brothers and sisters, this is not a joyous day for the Union, despite what you may be told. These documents are simply an attempt by System Council U8 to mitigate the devastating impact on the lives of our members and their families. These documents do not signify the end of anything.…buckle your chin-straps this is only the beginning.