PORTLAND, Ore. (Dec. 15, 2015) — Some of the hardworking utility workers who’ve been battling to keep your power on amid this winter’s wind and rain storms have also been battling for more than a year to get a fair contract.
After 14 months of challenging negotiations that included two rejected contracts and strike authorization, members of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 125 who work at Pacific Power in Washington, Oregon, and Montana voted last week by nearly a 3-to-1 margin to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement. On Dec. 2, the IBEW Local 125’s Negotiating Committee had given a “do pass” recommendation.
“We thank all of the union and community supporters who had our back during this difficult process,” said Travis Eri, Business Manager for IBEW 125. “We will continue working to address the departure of too many highly-skilled and knowledgeable workers leaving Pacific Power for neighboring utilities with better overall working conditions.”
IBEW 125 members twice rejected proposed contracts in June and August 2015, with 95% of members voting “no” on both proposals. The company was demanding to shift more health care costs onto workers. Over the previous two contracts, the company had terminated its pension plan and restricted wage increases.
The new four-year contract includes a 2% wage increase, a 1% gross-wage stipend, and maintains the existing medical cost share with a slight variance if inflation alters medical premium costs above a set percentage.
Portland-based IBEW Local 125 represents approximately 320 linemen, meter readers, substation wiremen and others at Pacific Power, a subsidiary of PacifiCorp, which is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy.