FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Erin Bzymek
WASHINGTON, DC (FEBRUARY 12, 2020) – Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) President James Slevin today released the following statement in support of Oregon NPL workers doing work for Avista who are seeking to bargain for better safety protections on the job and improved wages and benefits. The parties are teetering on a labor dispute as the existing contract deadline looms this weekend:
“NPL has a history of not providing the proper training for their workers which contributed to a March 8, 2019 incident where several improper gas connections were discovered. That’s why UWUA is negotiating for a safety and mentoring committee. Workers can have a voice in every aspect of safety and training to avoid incidents that endanger our communities and provide NPL with much needed assistance in the repair and replacement of critical gas infrastructure across southwest Oregon.
“With this new contract and better safety training, UWUA will make sure incidents like what happened in 2019 never happen again. We want to make sure that our workers and communities are safe. Additionally, our members who work tirelessly year-round are demanding fairer wages and paid time off to spend with their families. Currently these workers have no vacation or paid holidays and are the lowest paid in the industry across the region.
“NPL already punted once on negotiating a new contract with the highly-skilled gas construction workers of UWUA. We urge the company to come to the table and work with us to negotiate in good faith before the contract expires.”
Chartered in 1945, the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), AFL-CIO represents 50,000 active members employed in America’s utility sectors including the electric, gas, water, and related professional and service industries. James Slevin is UWUA’s National President. For more information visit https://uwua.net.