IBEW Local 77
International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers * Seattle, Washington
  • April 25, 2017
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  • PSE Negotiations

    PSE Small Negotiating Committee Members:

    Ben Benson – CAC Bothell

    Aaron Henderson – Maps and Records (B Group at Large)

    Mike Nixon – E.F.R.

    Scott Hines – System Operations

    Matt Summers – Fredonia

    Randy Turnley – Relay

    Debbie Smith – Electric Dispatch  

    March 30, 2017


    Your Small Negotiating Committee has met in active negotiations with the PSE negotiating team 13 times now and our expectations of progress at the latest session on Friday, March 24, 2017, fell short with PSE again claiming that what we want for our members lacks corporate sustainability (their latest buzz word).  This leaves us questioning how other local utilities with similar, ratified proposals are able to sustain and thrive in this environment. 

    As you know, the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) with PSE will expire this Friday, March 31, 2017.  Your IBEW bargaining committee is still actively negotiating a successor contract, but it is obvious that we will not reach an agreement before the CBA expires.  We are providing the following information so that the membership is informed and aware of the CBA expiration and its impacts.

    In terms of negotiations, after CBA expiration, PSE is still required to meet at reasonable times and to continue to bargain in good faith with Union representatives with respect to wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment.  The parties are scheduled to meet next on Thursday, April 6, 2017.

    What happens when the current CBA expires?

    The Status Quo Period

    Upon CBA expiration, PSE must maintain the status quo of the expired CBA and past practices.  All terms and conditions of the CBA, including wages and hours, continue and are in full force until a successor agreement is reached or good faith bargaining results in a lawful impasse.

    There are four exceptions to the status quo requirement:

    1. Union Security: New employees will not be required to join the union or pay dues.  However, PSE must continue dues check-off for current members.

    1. Arbitration: PSE can refuse to arbitrate grievances filed after the CBA expires, except those that concern events or rights that occurred before expiration.  This is not automatic; PSE has the choice whether to recognize arbitration for a grievance filed after the CBA expires.

    1. No Strike/ No Lockout: The no strike / no lockout clause automatically expires with the CBA.  Employees are allowed to strike immediately upon expiration.

    1. Management Rights: The management rights clause expires automatically with the CBA.  The Union can issue demands to bargain over virtually all items in the expired management rights clause before PSE acts upon them.


    If the parties reach a deadlock and both sides believe further bargaining would be futile, PSE may declare an impasse.  Once lawful impasse is reached, PSE may unilaterally implement its pre-impasse proposals – terms that it previously offered in bargaining.  However, impasse does not justify a unilateral change concerning a mandatory subject over which there had been no bargaining in the last round of negotiations.

    If PSE declares an impasse before the Union believes that further bargaining would be futile, the Union has the option to pursue an unfair labor practice charge to force PSE back to the bargaining table.

    If you have questions, please contact your Union Stewards or Business Representative, Rex Habner.


    We have met with PSE for 9 negotiating sessions thus far and have finally hit the agreed upon date where all proposed changes to the CBA needed to be submitted for inclusion in negotiations.  According to our ground rules, no new proposals can be submitted from this day forward without agreement from both sides. 

    We are a long way apart on the major proposals described below.   

    PSE hasn’t made any movement on their original PTO proposal. They are trying to convince us that the same plan that the non-rep employees were forced to adhere to is for the good of the employees.  We strongly disagree. 

    Data has flown both directions on health care but what it comes down to is PSE trying to substantially cut their Health and Welfare funding.  During the 2014 negotiations we agreed to a cut from 95% to 80% company contribution for EE (employee only) and from 85% to 80% for EF (employee & family).  Now they want to push us down further to an eventual 75% EE and 70% EF company contribution.  During the first year of their proposal, if you make $30 or less per hour and select EF health care coverage you actually go backwards with their proposed general wage increase.

    The meal allowance changes are hard to swallow (ha).  We fought hard last negotiations to tie the meal allowance value to a wage rate to avoid future negotiations only to find that they want to reset it to the 2010 rate now.  Add to this their proposed language change to disallow a meal allowance if a company meal is provided (chips and dip?) makes this a definite NO.  We like it the way it is. 

    The general wage increase proposals are dramatically different.  Their proposed three year, 2%, 2%, 1.5% offer feels like a slap in the face. 

    In addition, PSE has rejected all of our market level increases even though we provided sound justification data.  Market level increases were proposed for:

    • Meter
    • Electric Dispatch
    • System Operations
    • Communications  
    • Generation ICE
    • Drayage
    • OSS
    • GIS Technician

    We have a lot of time left in these negotiations and have many other proposals on the table besides the ones mentioned.  Pass the word and let’s stay strong and united as we negotiate to get the best possible contract for our members!  

    Where we stand on the major proposals:


    PSE Proposal

    • Increase in accrual for first year of employment from 10 to 20 days
    • Increase in accrual for years 6 through 10 of employment from 20 days to 22 days
    • No change in accrual for years 10 through 19 of employment at 25 days
    • Change from 19 years to 20 years of service to achieve the maximum of 27 days
    • No change in accrual for pre July 1, 2003 employees
    • Modification of carryover from annual to monthly and two year planned buyout reduction of carryover banks for everyone down to 160 hours. The first buyout is proposed to be on 4/1/17 down to 320 hours and the second on 4/1/18 down to 160 hours.
    • Decrease in carryover limit for years 1 through 4 of employment from 160 hours to 120 hours

     IBEW Proposal

    • Change from “Continuous” to “Total” years of service for PTO accrual calculation
    • Increase in annual carryover limit to 600 hours for all employees
    • Change to all hours over the maximum carryover to be paid at straight time rate
    • Change to all hours over the maximum that were denied for operational needs to be paid at the double time rate
    • Change to allow a carryover payment to be deposited into the 401K plan


    PSE Proposal

    • Stepped reduction in the company contributions as follows:

              2018   From EE 80% / EF 80% to EE 80% / EF 75%
                   EE $38 / EF $102 average monthly increase excluding premium increase (estimated at 4%)

              2019   From EE 80% / EF 75% to EE 75% / EF 75%
                   EE $35 / EF $0 average monthly increase excluding premium increase (estimated at 4%)

              2020   From EE 75% / EF 75% to EE 75% / EF 70%
                   EE $0 / EF $86 average monthly increase excluding premium increase (estimated at 4%)

    • Change in the flex benefit formula from using Regence Engage as a driver to a weighted average of all participants.

    IBEW Proposal

    • Increase in company contributions from EE 80% / EF 80% to EE 85% / EF 85%
    • Change in the flex benefit formula to include a 1.25X multiplier to the Regence Engage driver
    • Stepped increase in wellness credits of $10 per month year over year


    PSE Proposal

    • Reduced from 50% of Wireman rate to $20
    • Addition of language to reject meal allowances if the company has provided a meal

    IBEW Proposal

    • No change to existing language


    PSE Proposal

    • Three year term from 4/1/2017 to 3/31/2020
    • General wage adjustments:

             4/1/2017   2.0%
             1/1/2018   2.0%
             1/1/2019   1.5%

    IBEW Proposal

    • Six year term from 4/1/2017 to 3/31/2023
    • General wage adjustments at 6% per year

    Previous Negotiating Sessions

    • November 2, 2016
    • November 9, 2016
    • November 17, 2016
    • December 6, 2016
    • December 13, 2016
    • December 20, 2016
    • January 20, 2017
    • January 24, 2017
    • February 16, 2017
    • March 1, 2017
    • March 8, 2017
    • March 13, 2017
    • March 24, 2017


    • April 6, 2017

    Page Last Updated: Mar 30, 2017 (16:38:50)
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