News Roundup

Braintree, MA Cable Installers Secure 22 Percent Pension Benefit Raise

The members of Local 379 in Braintree, Massachusetts, working with Senior National Representative Dan Hurley, successfully secured a significant, 22 percent increase to cable installers’ pensions. The members’ defined pensions are held by the county and voted on by the retirement board of the town. Cable installers fought for and persuasively argued before the retirement board to raise their pension benefit to match that of electric linemen. The negotiation took about a year and took effect immediately.

Local 601 Rahway Contract Victory

Continuing the UWUA’s string of organizing and first contract victories at Suez Water, Local 601 recently won a four-year contract for Rahway, NJ workers that includes substantial raises, a wage bump with each license earned, increased paid-time off, meal allowances, and more. Pictured here, left to right, 601 President Noel Christmas, Rahway’s Tom Petrusko, Robbie Burnett, Billy Quinn, and UWUA National Organizer Valerie King.

Federal Grant Money Available To Brayton Point workers

Members impacted by layoffs at the Brayton Point Power Station have the option of applying for a U.S. Department of Labor National Dislocated Worker Grant. UWUA Senior National Representative Dan Hurley worked with Locals 369 and 590 to secure assistance for members impacted. It took a little under a year to secure these funds. An AFL-CIO rapid response unit dispatched staff to the plant to provide assistance. The grant provides relocation and retraining funds.

Local 436A Wastewater Plant Now Energy Neutral

Thanks to a new initiative lead by the members of UWUA Local 436A, the Eastern Ohio Regional Wastewater Authority (EORWA) and Quasar Energy Group, the Bellaire Wastewater Treatment Plant is the first of its kind in Ohio to become energy-neutral. EORWA Board President Roger Stewart, Executive Director Valerie Moore, UWUA members and other local representatives recently celebrated the completion of the project during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in September.

Previously, excessive methane waste was burned off. The new technology installed at the plant — which took around a year and a half to install — allows EORWA to generate its own electricity from the biomass waste it processes on site. Using a microturbine and by retrofitting existing digesters allows methane gas to be converted to electricity.

The project delivers significant savings in utility costs for the facility, which also saves customers money in the long run. Ratepayers will not see an increase in water utility costs at all next year. Additionally, the upgrades made it possible for the facility to upgrade to a Class A facility — a change that also benefits the community. Customers may now have access to residual waste from the plant they can use on their lawns.

“This project represents a significant investment in upgrading our infrastructure and it’s a win-win for the facility and the community,” said Scott Antonik, vice president of UWUA Local 436A.