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Pepco workers reject latest offer

Problems continue to plague electric service provider

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Published on: Thursday, October 04, 2012

By Christa Puccio

The union representing Pepco workers met with Pepco on Friday and declared a media blackout after the union rejected Pepco’s “last, best and final” offer contract with a 5-1 vote.

“There is no question in our minds that this offer you will vote on is the worst proposal this Local has faced in its entire history,” wrote the IBEW Local 1900 Negotiating Committee in a letter to its members.  “There are no good reasons for the ‘take a ways’ the Company is trying to force on you.”

Pepco media relations managers were unable to comment on the issue.  “We met with the union on Friday with a federal mediator and at that meeting we agreed on a media blackout, so unfortunately I’m not able to answer any questions,” said Myra Oppel, regional communications director at Pepco.

The union representing Pepco workers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1900, wrote a letter to its members two weeks ago in regards to the union’s concerns with the contract.  “From the very first week Pepco made ‘take-away’ proposals,” wrote the IBEW Local 1900 Negotiating Committee in the letter.  “Taking control of our health and welfare plans, requiring our working spouses to take their employers health insurance, eliminating past practice, eliminating seniority for promotions and fundamental changes in meal allowances are but some of these proposals we faced early in negotiations.”

The negotiating committee unanimously recommended to its members rejecting the contract proposal on Sept. 26.  “We were also faced with 53 job descriptions the Company wanted to “update,’” wrote the IBEW Local 1900 Negotiating Committee in the letter.  “That translated into many with added duties that were significant. The Company continually told us they wanted to reduce “handoffs.” In other words, they wanted you to do some of the work that belonged to other jobs in the bargaining unit for no additional compensation.”

Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner addressed this issue in his press conference on Oct. 1.  “I certainly hope we don’t get to a point where we’re talking about management serving as replacement linemen,” said Berliner.  “My judgment is our nation has seen what happens when we use replacement officials.  Those of us who care about football – replacement officials are not a good thing – and replacement linemen would not be a good thing.  We need our linemen on the job.  So it is my hope that this issue will get resolved in an appropriate manner and get resolved soon.”

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