Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Yesterday Dynegy announced in June 2016 they plan to close the Wood River plant. At a meeting at the plant at 3:00 pm yesterday they informed me and the Local 51 members about their plans. The timetable for the closing is surprising since many of us thought if it were going to happen it would be several years down the road. The Company said the main reason for the retirement of the plant is the low prices in MISO which are caused mainly by the poorly structured capacity and energy market. They will be continuing work to get reforms of the MISO structure and Local 51 will be doing what we can to convince MISO and other agencies of the needed changes. The Company said without the needed changes other plants/units are in danger of early closings also.
They plan to file a notice about the closing with MISO on December 1st. MISO will have 75 days to make a decision (mid-February 2016). MISO can agree to the closing, deny the closing on a limited basis (designate one unit a “must run” unit) or designate the entire plant a “must run” plant. If MISO agrees with the request to retire the plant Dynegy will have five (5) days to determine if their decision is final. If a unit or the plant is designated “must run” the prudent and approved costs will be paid by MISO. MISO can withdraw the “must run” designation with proper notice to the owner of the unit or plant.
If the plant is to be closed the Company is required to enter into effects bargaining with Local 51. With the decision of MISO being unknown we anticipate most of the effects bargaining to begin in late February or early March. During yesterday’s meeting there was some positive tone from the Company about possible job opportunities for the membership employed at Wood River. When the Vermilion plant closed in 2011 there was not the same “vibe” from the Company. Local 51 will do the best we can to create as many job opportunities as possible.
There is a severance plan on page 108 of our Labor Agreement. It is also referenced on page 172. The layoff language, the bumping language and recall language are located on pages 20 – 22. We know there will be many questions, we will answer them the best we can with the information we have at the time. Some questions may not be able to be answered and the impact on individual employees may not be known until we know the outcome of MISO’s decision and the outcome of effects bargaining.
Please keep the Local 51 members working at Wood River in your thoughts. When we have more information we will pass it along to everyone.
John H. Johnson, Asst. Business Manager