Sunday, December 9, 2018
To all of the members of IBEW Local 29, I want to thank you for being part of this local union which has approximately 1400 members, and the International, which has over 700,000 members. The members of IBEW are some of the most skilled and hardest working union employees in this great country, we are also one of the most highly compensated unions.
Since taking over as Business Manager I have looked for ways to cut cost and lower expenses, this is not always the most popular thing to do when it affects the part-time officers and Reps and the time they put in without pay, along with canceling some social events when more money is needed to fight back against the Companies we have contracts with, but I can honestly say this group has embraced it and they have all looked for ways to cut cost.
One of the biggest reasons we are asking for a dues increase is the Beaver Valley bankruptcy which has forced us to join with other First Energy local Unions to hire bankruptcy attorneys to protect those members pension, benefits and contract language who work or have retired from Beaver Valley. The cost of the attorneys has been higher than anticipated but the need for them has been very critical in keeping what we have and possibly getting our share of the KERP (Key Employee Retention Program) which is $100 million and initially intended for only management of First Energy. Although, I know everyone at Beaver Valley will not be happy how the KERP is distributed we are doing our best on fighting for it to be divided up fairly.
Another cost that has increased is the dues money used in going to arbitration and the preparation of those cases, which we feel is money well spent. We have been very successful in getting back several members who have been unjustly terminated, also we have been able to get some of the suspensions reversed and I am sure countless ones that were not handed out because the Company knew we would challenge it. We have also arbitrated several contractual issues, the FMLA Policy at DLC is one that we are waiting on for a decision, another is the NRG retiree life insurance. We are currently preparing for the “reasonable overtime” arbitration with DLC is a very important case and will affect many of our members at Duquesne Light Co. Unless some of these Companies suddenly change their tune, we will be in arbitration every month as long as we can afford it.
To keep up with all of our grievance and arbitration settlements visit our website (IBEW29.org) and sign up for our news letter Watts Current these are the best ways to stay informed on what’s happening in YOUR UNION!!
We will have negotiations coming up with People’s Gas whose contract expires January 22, 2019. Then we will have Duquesne Light contract negotiations, that contract expires October 1, 2019.
I am asking that we send a message to all the Companies, that our members want us to fight to be treated fairly and keep what we have. The only way to do that is to vote YES to the dues increase, that investment of an additional $10 a month (only 33 cents a day) for up to 12 months, may mean the difference in us being able to arbitrate a case that is important to you.
Based on the number of Local 29 shirts that have been sold over the last two months proves that we have many members that are proud to be a part of this Union. That show of support just makes us as Union officers and Reps work that much harder to make sure that you are treated fairly by your employer.
The only reason we are asking for this temporary increase is, so we can use the tools needed to do our jobs properly. As your Business Manager, I promise to continue to use your dues money wisely and treat it as if it were mine.
The bylaw change will be read at the November Union Meeting and again in December and then will be voted on at the December meeting.
Thanks once again for all your support!!