Region I Local Reports

Officers Report 2015, Part 4


Local 1-2 represents members before 12 different employers in New York state. Since the last convention, the local has successfully negotiated collective bargaining agreements for all but one of its bargaining units; and remains in negotiations for its public sector unit.

In 2012, Local 1-2 ratified a new contract with Consolidated Edison (New York City) by a 93% vote, following a 27-day company lockout of 8,500 members in July. Con Ed made the move in a bid to strip members of their health insurance. The lockout was ended when Governor Andrew Cuomo intervened, meeting with Con Ed CEO Kevin Burke and Local 1-2 President Harry Farrell, along with National President Michael Langford; an agreement was reached in several hours. This took place during intense heat events which strained the electrical and gas systems to the brink of collapse, endangering the health and welfare of millions of New Yorker’s. In the end the UWUA prevailed and offered members a contract far above industry standards. This agreement expires in June 2016. Previous experience informs us that Con Ed will once again work to bust the union. We have learned the lessons of 2012, and believe our revitalized membership in Local 1-2 will stop Con Ed from any more outrageous and dangerous acts.

New York Power Authority is the one public sector unit in Local 1-2. We have been engaged in negotiations for this unit for four years. A bill pending before the New York State Legislature, backed by Local 1-2, would require NYPA to submit to binding arbitration when negotiations are blocked in this way. It should be noted that, currently, the state has no abiding interest in settling with any union, and can delay collective bargaining with state employees almost indefinitely. New York’s Taylor Law prohibits public employees from striking.

Asplundh Tree, Blakely Equipment, and Lewis Tree negotiate collectively with Local 1-2, for a contract covering UWUA member employees in all three companies. The current agreement expires in fall 2015, and the local expects tough negotiations, once again, with these employers.

Members overwhelmingly approved a new contract in 2014 with Entergy, which runs the Indian Point Nuclear facility in Buchanan, NY. The contract expires in 2017. The talks with Entergy went past the strike deadline, but the company and the local stayed at the table, eventually forging a good agreement which we happily brought to the members for a vote.

For the first time, smaller bargaining units of Local 1-2 carried out simultaneous negotiations with NRG and US Power Generating (Queens and Brooklyn). Both contracts were brought to the members on time, and the good results were ratified by a 98% vote.

Other unit contracts due to expire in 2017 include United Water in New Rochelle, NAES in Queens, and TransCanada in Queens. Talks with WRS in Yaphank will begin before the end of 2015, in advance of the expiration of its current contract in 2016.

Local 1-2 underwent a change of leadership in 2014 following President Harry Farrell’s retirement from office. In March 2014, James T. Slevin, former VP of the local, received an astounding plurality as president, and brought with him Vice President James Shillitto and new Senior Business Agents Robert Stahl, Lisa Vella, and Anthony Pedagna; Business Agents Richard McNally, Jean Washington, Robert Smith, Darryl Taylor, Vincent Kyne, Bruce Farina, Joseph Mussillo, John (Scotty) MacNeill and Emilio Frederick; and Secretary- Treasurer John Capra. We all miss having Harry with us on a daily basis, but Local 1-2 is looking forward to many more productive years under its current leadership.

Local 273 and Local 273C, Southeast MA

The locals are running a corporate campaign against Columbia Gas, and have negotiated a no-layoff clause for our clerical unit. The company was trying to move all the clerical jobs to Ohio.

Local B310, RI

Local B310 represents the members at National Grid in both the electric and gas industries. We also represent members in generation plants at Dominion and Emera Energy. We have negotiated good contracts for all our members over the last four years. We would like to thank George (Bing) Fogerty who ran or watched over our local for the last sixty years, for all his continued support. We have continued his tradition of supporting numerous charities and labor organizations in Rhode Island.

Local B318, Beverly, MA

Local B318 negotiated a successful four-year contract with National Grid, with better working conditions and increased wages. We are also actively involved in the expansion and replacement of the gas line infrastructure. The local donates time and money to several local charities, including HAWC, Plumber’s Boys Home, and Habit for Humanity.

Local B322, Western MA

Since the last convention, Local B322 has won an arbitration case over a discharge involving workers compensation fraud. After meeting with our local’s lawyer, Wendy Bittner, who also handles workers compensation cases, we decided to go forward with the case. After eight days proving our case, we waited months for the decision. The arbitrator ruled against the company, and called on them to rehire and restitute the employee, including 2 1/2 years’ back pay including overtime.

Local B330, Worcester, MA

Local B330 added new members by organizing at Worcester Telecom. We negotiated the safety advocate position, and created four new positions in the BUW/UWUA. In our 2013 contract, we organized design engineers to grow the local. Local B330 went from 5 to 13 members. We added 11 new clerical jobs system-wide, and secured an eight-hour day for them. We also won some big arbitration cases on blue sky beeper use, and on limiting the use of contractors.

Local B340, Fitchburg, MA

The local negotiated a six-year contract on June 1, 2013, with 3% GWI. We secured an Evergreen Letter to protect existing members’ pensions; for the next 25 years, the company cannot propose anything that would negatively impact our pensions. Only three other locals in the country have an Evergreen Letter.

Local B341, Portland, ME

Local B341 represents organized gas workers in the state of Maine. Since the last convention, we have negotiated restoration of our post-retirement health benefits, which were lost in a bitter contract fight twelve years earlier. Every member was given back their benefits, retroactively to their start date. We also increased our pension benefit by ten precent, and won a five-year contract at three percent GWI for each year.

Local 355, NY

Local 355 moved to American Water when it acquired Aqua America in 2011. Negotiations for a new contract began in 2012. American Water was very aggressive during bargaining, proposing major concessions and very low wage increases. Local 355 came away with a 3-year contract with 7.25% increase in wages. They also forced the company to drop most of their concessionary demands, while gaining other improvements to the contract. This contract expires at the end of October 2015. A one-year contract extension with a 2.25% wage increase is pending.

Local 359, Bristol, RI

Local 359 represents organized water workers in Bristol County. We are in the middle of a bitter contract dispute, to protect our members’ benefits and  increase our wages. We would like to thank Local B310 and the other locals that are supporting us in our efforts.

Local 365, NY

The local took a one-year contract extension with a 2.25% wage increase. The contract expires at the end of 2015.

Local 369, MA

UWUA Local 369 has successfully negotiated and ratified 21 contracts since the 29th Convention, covering approximately 3,000 members. Our efforts resulted in hard-fought gains including new jobs, increases to benefits and pensions, general wage increases and the elimination of contractors.

Negotiations with Entergy in 2012 was our biggest fight. Although we agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement in July of that year, we were locked out of the facility for approximately five weeks. Initially, this company wanted to strip the existing agreement, and shift healthcare costs upon our members. We said “no,” and stood together on picket lines in front of their facilities.

At National Grid, the UWUA spearheaded a law suit resulting in a $7 million settlement. This grew out of the 2012 payroll meltdown that engulfed National Grid in three states. The suit was filed in Massachusetts, when National Grid changed their payroll software system days before Super Storm Sandy struck the east coast. The change left thousands of workers either without pay or grossly underpaid for several weeks and months.

Local 369 leveraged the relationship, which we had built with the Massachusetts Attorney General, to get the company to settle the lawsuit. As a result, every worker, regardless of whether their pay was improper, would receive a payment of $750, and in the event that a worker may have been overpaid, the company would not seek repayment.

At Eversource Energy, our largest company, we have been dealing with merger issues similar to the merger of National Grid and Keyspan in 2006. We contacted the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office and were able to get language inserted into the merger agreement stipulating that there will be no loss of jobs because of the merger, and if there is a transfer of work from Massachusetts out of state, then there must be a quid pro quo of work coming into Massachusetts.

On the organizing front, Local 369 has added a group of bulk dispatchers at Eversource Energy, who unanimously voted to join. We also added a call center at Liberty Gas.

Local 375, NJ

In January 2012, Local 375 reached agreement with United Water on a 5-year contract, with wage increases totaling close to 15%. The local was successful in bargaining many other gains as well. This contract expires in February 2017.

Local 379, Braintree, MA

We represent all the members at Braintree Electric, and are proud to report we have just reached a three-year contract, retaining all our benefits, with the town of Braintree. We have negotiated good GWI’s with pay adjustments. We would like to thank all our members for standing strong.

Local 384, CT

In 2013, Local 384 reached a 3-year deal with Aquarian Water on a multi-union benefits agreement. The company had sought major cuts in healthcare, along with huge increases in costs to their members. Local 384 fought hard and, in the end, was able to preserve their current level of benefits, while agreeing to only slight increases in costs. They negotiated a 3-year contract extension, with a 9% wage increase and no other changes. The benefits agreement expires July 31, 2016, and their unit contract expires at the end of March 2017.

Local 391 & 395, NJ

The locals reached agreement on 3-year contracts in April 2014, with improvements to working conditions and wages. The contracts expire in April 2017, and one-year contract extensions with a 2.25% wage increase are pending.

Local 393, NY

At the time of this report, Local 393 has been in a battle with the Suffolk County Water Authority for almost two years now. They have been working under an expired agreement since July 1, 2013. The authority wants huge concessions in benefits and are offering very little in wage increases. Local 393 has received tremendous support from their membership, and will continue to fight until a fair deal is reached.

Local 424, NJ

The local reached an agreement with AGL Resources on a 3-year contract in November 2012. AGL sought major contract changes, but Local 424 made many gains, including 9% in wage increases. Local 424 was able to fight off many of the concessions that the company had demanded. This contract expires in November 2015.

Local 447, NY

Local 447 and the Great Neck Water Authority agreed to a 4-year contract in 2013, which provides a 12% wage increase along with other improvements. This contract expires December 31, 2017.

Local 462 and Local 462C, Taunton, MA

Local 462 represents union members at Taunton Municipal Light. Just coming off three-year contracts, we were able to settle two fair one-year contracts after some complications, with great help and information from our UWUA national representative. We are much engaged in local charities that help our community.

Local 466, Braintree, MA

Local 466 represents the members in the Braintree Water Department. Since the last convention, we have negotiated a contract maintaining all our benefits, but only two percent GWI’s. We are seeking to correct this pay issue in 2016, when our current contract expires.

Local 470-1, Bridgeport, CT

In 2011, the local negotiated a four-year CBA with NAES Corp, for members at the Bridgeport Energy plant, and in 2014, a four-year extension with PSEG for members at the Bridgeport Harbor and New Haven Harbor plants. Since the NAES contract in 2011, we have negotiated the transition through two different plant sales, to Capital Power and, most recently, Emera Energy in 2014, improving our agreement through each sale.

Local 476, NY

Local 476 successfully negotiated a new CBA in 2012, to expire at the end of 2014. A one-year extension was agreed to by the Westchester Joint Water Works and new Local 476 President Joseph Webb, who took office in January 2015, succeeded President Frank Arcara. The extension will expire December 31, 2015.

Local 501, NY

The local reached a 5-year agreement with the Hicksville Water District, which saw improvements to working conditions and a nearly 16% wage hike over the life of the contract. This contract expires at the end of 2018.

Local 534, NJ

David Pluchino succeeded John Birkner as president of Local 534. The current CBA with Bergen County Utility Authority is due to end December 31, 2015. The local is preparing for negotiations to achieve a new CBA before the end of 2015.

Local 534B, NJ

In January 2012, Local 534B reached an agreement on a new CBA with the North Bergen Utility Authority. After, Local President Ivan Diaz, replaced President Caesar Baez. The local is preparing for negotiations, with the CBA expiring at the end of 2015.

Local 555, Seabrook, NH

The members of Local 555 received top rating from the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, for an unprecedented fourth time in a row. We received 99.14% of our Incentive Plan payout for the past year. Our pay raises have also been excellent.

Negotiations were concluded successfully with mostly positive results. We staved off transfer to an inferior health plan, and Fire Fighters maintained their jobs.

Local 584, DE

Local 584 recently organized the clerical employees at United Water Delaware. Local 584 is currently in negotiations on the first contract for these new members.

Local 590, Plymouth, MA

Local 590 represents the professional members at Entergy’s Pilgram Nuclear Station. We have negotiated two good contracts since the last convention.

Local 601, NJ

The local reached an agreement with Public Service Enterprise Group on a 3-year contract in 2014. The nearly 1,200 members of Local 601 saw improvements in wages, working conditions, and other contract areas. This contract expires at the end of April 2017.