New Contract at Florida’s Seminole Electric

Local 551 negotiating committee members (L to R): Brandon Morris (secretary); Neil Fassbinder (former treasurer); Ian Riddle (president); Mark Solomon (vice president); and Dan Gonzalez (trustee).

Power generation workers at Seminole Electric’s Palatka, Florida, coal-fired plant reached a new agreement in October that contains record wage increases. The contract for the 80 members of Local 551 had expired at the end of June, but the committee kept negotiating until members got what they wanted in pay and healthcare. A new three-year agreement went into effect October 24 and includes 10.25% in guaranteed wage increases, a $1,500 ratification bonus, a bump in on-call pay, 2 new holidays, and improvements in healthcare.

Ian Riddle, the local’s president, has worked at the plant for over 22 years and said, “These are the best wage increases we’ve ever achieved.”

In addition to higher wages, the workers are looking forward to changes in healthcare. Riddle explained that members aren’t satisfied with the two plans currently offered by the company. “Neither meets members’ needs. Under the new agreement, come 2025, we won the right to opt out and shop for something better with the company agreeing to keep paying a specific amount,” said Riddle.

Riddle gives a lot of credit to UWUA National Representative Rich Cosell for his help throughout the process, “The healthcare negotiations were particularly tough, and Rich was there with us every step of the way.”