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Local 320 Strike Against Dynegy

Date: 
Monday, December 3, 2012

Our members have been on strike at Dynegy's Roseton/Danskammer Generating site at 992 River Road in the town of Newburgh since November 8th. Dynegy had made its last, best, and final offer during the evening of Wednesday, November 7th with no offer to extend the collective bargaining agreement. We had made significant offers of concessions, including no wage increase but that was not enough. Dynegy demands to freeze pension benefits and end all benefits for retirees. The members had received their last wage increase almost two years ago when we had extended the CBA for nine months in an effort to get beyond Dynegy's bankruptcy and subsequent order to sell the facilities. Our members voted to reject the Company's last, best, and final offer last Sunday, during their fourth day on the picket line. Dynegy has been notified that although the offer was rejected, Local 320 continues to be willing to negotiate. The bids for purchase of the Roseton/Danskammer site was scheduled to decide the successful bidder on November 15th. We had offered to extend the existing collective bargaining agreement for a year to get beyond the sale process of the site and then negotiate future agreements with a new owner. Dynegy not only defaulted on their Newburgh property taxes, they have additionally not paid 17.2 million dollars that are owed to the Marlborough School District. That loss off tax revenue will seriously damage that school system. Dynegy, based in Houston, Texas, seems to have a legacy of bringing harm to the communities they do business in. Check out IBEWlocal320.org  Thanks for your offer of assistance with our struggle to keep our 114 members working at a site that still has a future to operate if run by a responsible owner.

John Kaiser, Business Manager
Local 320 IBEW
(845) 471-3232
IBEW320 at hvc.rr.com

 

PRESS CahillRELEASE: ASSEMBLY ENERGY CHAIRMAN KEVIN CAHILL PRESSES DYNEGY AND IBEW TO RETURN TO NEGOTIATIONS

Albany, NY Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D - Ulster/Dutchess) Chair of the New York State Assembly Energy Committee wrote to both Dynegy executives and the leadership of Local 320 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers urging them to resume negotiations and enter into at least a temporary agreement that would put workers back on the job and make the Danskammer and Roseton power plants safe and reliable again. "At this critical time for energy in our state, we need to be able to count on these important assets."  Assemblyman Cahill said, "The long illustrious history of these plants has never before experienced a work stoppage and there is no good reason that the parties cannot enter into temporary agreement, pending negotiation of a final contract."

Copies of the letter were delivered to John Kaiser, President of IBEW Local 320 and Martin Daley, Vice President and General Manager of Dynegy, Inc.  Robert Flexon, Dynegy CEO, the Public Service Commission and others also received the letter.  In the letter Cahill urged both sides to begin negotiations again and to resolve the argument quickly and fairly for the sake of safety, reliability, and economic stability in the region. Houston based energy company, Dynegy Inc. and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 320 based in Poughkeepsie, New York, were not able to reach a new agreement, which ultimately led to a strike of over 100 unionized employees that went into effect when a hurricane Sandy related union contract extension expired at 12:01AM on November 8th.  

The situation is further complicated by the fact that Dynegy is currently embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings and plans on selling the two striking plants in the immediate future.  Additionally, Dynegy owes $23.4 million dollars to the Marlboro School District, the Town of Newburgh, and to Orange County.  The increased uncertainty caused by this strike could lead to a lower sale price and therefore lower property tax rates for the political subdivisions concerned. Click here to go to utilitylaborcouncil.com to download see the full text of the letter from Assemblyman Cahill to Dynegy, Inc. and IBEW Local 320.

 

A Letter to both Local 320 & Dynegy from Assemblyman Cahill

November 30, 2012

Dear Sirs:

I write regarding the current dispute between Dynegy and Local 320 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. I understand that the parties believe that an impasse has been reached. It is my information that Dynegy has made what it characterizes as its “last best offer” and that was not acceptable to the members and leadership of Local 320. I have also been informed that Dynegy has refused to consider temporary measures such as entering into an extension of the existing agreement for a limited period of time. This refusal to pursue either course led to the conclusion on the part of Local 320 that Dynegy was not negotiating in good faith and that a work stoppage was necessary.

I urge both parties to return to the bargaining table and to begin negotiations anew. Current limited staffing at the Roseton and Danskammer plants is simply unacceptable. These facilities are critical to the
reliability of New York’s energy grid. That these plants are not at the ready to be fully operational exacerbates the stress to the system that has already been traumatized by recent weather events. The likelihood of accident or other unsafe conditions brought about by limited staffing of individuals lacking the depth and breadth of experience of the regular work force is being unnecessarily increased.

Further, as Dynegy pursues a transition in bankruptcy court and through a possible sale, the value of these important assets is at risk of being diminished. The previously uninterrupted relationship between the plant’s owner/operators and the professional men and women who make up the IBEW Local 320 staff and crew of the facilities has long been admired by those of us who oversee energy issues in the State of New York. Indeed, the stability of relations between the owner/operators and the workforce has been a key component of the unique intrinsic value and reliability of these power plants.

The importance of the plants for assuring the long term health and stability of our electric system, particularly in the Greater Metropolitan area and the immediate surrounding communities, such as the Hudson Valley, is undeniable. Pending improvements to our transmission network and the possible closure or restricted use of other nearby power facilities makes the likely role of Danskammer and Roseton in the future even greater.

In order to assure the continued significance of these Hudson Valley assets, I urge Dynegy to return to the bargaining table with a view toward at least a temporary agreement. I also urge the membership and leadership of Local 320 to suspend their job action under a temporary agreement to allow the two subject facilities to be safely operated and maintained by the good professionals who have done so for so many years.

Sincerely,
Kevin A. Cahill
Member of Assembly