On Tuesday and Wednesday May 19 & 20 the Local 51 negotiating committee met with IPH/Dynegy to continue bargaining. Although significant issues still exist, talks are progressing with both sides making movement.
Local 51 has tabled or withdrawn about 20 of our original 63 proposals. The Company has withdrawn 2 of their original 13 proposals. The parties have reached tentative agreements on 12 items. Significant issues still need further discussion and negotiations. We are passing counter proposals back and forth on certain issues. Some of them are length of contract, shift differential, move ups or upgrades, mandatory overtime limitations, new rest period language, changes to the accrued vacation schedule, vacation scheduling changes mainly for Shift Ops and Coal Ops, limiting VLO to one work day once per year, significant concessions on sick leave, all benefits including elimination of retiree medical, safety boot and glasses allowances, paid time off for immediate family hospitalization, decreased probationary period, job vacancy bids & transfers, past practice language, contracting language, improvements to the severance package, wage parity and general wage increases.
Local 51 did make a counter on the Company proposed retirement and 401(k) plans. We are waiting for the Company to provide a finalized substance abuse policy. We have flatly rejected the Company’s proposal to overhaul our seniority provisions for layoffs and bumping. We did agree to the Company’s proposal for 10-day strike/lockout notice language that mirrors the DMG language. We also agreed to discontinuation of bow and mushroom hunting at Duck Creek.
The Company has unilaterally implemented a return to work policy for employees who have been off sick with an illness or injury. Included in the policy are issues that have been clearly negotiated in our current Labor Agreement. One item is a mandatory drug test if an employee has been off work for greater than 30 days. Besides drug testing, other issues that have been previously negotiated are light duty, physicians certificates, and additional or other medical providers opinions.
On May 7th, Local 51 put the Company on written notice that the unilateral implementation of this policy violates our Labor Agreement and the NLRA. The Company said they will be submitting a new negotiations proposal that addresses issues included in the policy. Understand that prior to an agreement being reached our position is that a Local 51 employee cannot be required to adhere to the policy, including the 30 day drug test. If an employee is told they must follow the unilaterally implemented return to work policy they should immediately contact a Local 51 committee member or myself.
We are scheduled to continue negotiations with the Company on May 29, June 1, 2, and 11. Thank you for your support, work safe, and keep the faith out there.
Gerry Eakle, Emmanuel Reed, Tom Pinkham, Doug Freres, Tony Robertson, Ralph Stone, Troy Hackman, and John Johnson