Beaver County Blue

Progressive Democrats of America – PA 12th CD Chapter

IBEW Local 272 Protests First Energy Contract Violations

Posted by randyshannon on January 15, 2014

Bruce Mansfield union walks out on contract talks

By J.D. Prose jprose@timesonline.com | 1 comment

First Energy Bruce Mansfield Plant on Ohio River in Beaver County, PA

First Energy Bruce Mansfield Plant on Ohio River in Beaver County, PA

SHIPPINGPORT — Union representatives for workers at FirstEnergy Corp.’s Bruce Mansfield coal-fired plant walked out on negotiations Monday amid accusations that the company has violated the current contract and wants to end health care subsidies for retirees.

“How can we move forward with a new contract when you have already violated the current agreement?” asked Herman Marshman Jr., the president of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 272. “You can’t have an agreement if nobody’s abiding by the agreement.”

After two negotiating sessions last week, Marshman said the union walked out on the latest one Monday angry over FirstEnergy’s approach. The current contract expires Feb. 15, he said.

LU 272 members at Bruce Mansfield donated $6,400 in cash and 302 pounds of food (45,000 meals) to the Salvation Army in 2013 Harvest for Hunger campaign.

LU 272 members at Bruce Mansfield donated $6,400 in cash and 302 pounds of food (45,000 meals) to the Salvation Army in 2013 Harvest for Hunger campaign.

FirstEnergy has violated the agreement 29 times, Marshman claimed, endangering the safety of employees. One example he cited was the company having emergency medical technicians assigned clerical work instead of being positioned to respond to a crisis.

“Our issue is that if they’re not on their station … then they have to stop doing whatever they’re doing and go back to their station to get their equipment to attend to the emergency,” said Marshman, a 34-year employee and plant system operator.

As for retirees, Marshman said FirstEnergy wants to eliminate health care subsidies for them as of Jan. 1, 2015. That, he said, is just one of 20 concessions the company has proposed.

Marshman said there are 283 union workers at the plant and several hundred retirees. Stephanie Walton, a FirstEnergy spokeswoman, would not respond to Marshman’s comments Tuesday, but did say company representatives would attend a negotiating session scheduled for today.

Marshman said the union would attend that session and trade concerns with the FirstEnergy team, but it would not enter into substantive negotiations.

Also, Marshman said he and a national IBEW representative would meet with FirstEnergy officials Friday in an effort to resolve “the stalemate” that has stalled talks.

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