Post by theotherside on Jan 8, 2013 19:18:03 GMT -5
I have heard that the city and LL&P are still stalling contract negotiations with their workers even after the public voiced there concerns about treating our long time employees with some respect. I've also been told that they won't even sit in the same room to negotiate. That doesn't sound like the city officials I wanted and voted for... Quit messing around and sign a fair contract for our workers. They deserve it!
Post by brightlight on Jan 17, 2013 14:00:47 GMT -5
Negations mean working toward an agreement between two or more parties. That says that when both sides (LLP & Union) reach an agreement they have a contract, not just when LLP decides to agree with the union's demands as it seems many people recommend. Think about it, both sides are in a position to take what is on the table and call it done! LLP is a business and needs to serve its customers/rate payers first and foremost. The tail does not wag the dog. If the union is such a great way to get better working conditions why didn't more of the employees at LLP vote to have a union? Line workers are paid currently to be "on call". Take a look at other municipal utility union contracts within the state on their web sites. Not all contracts have an on call pay clause. They are paid well to get out of the swimming pool to restore someones power. Yes, the rate payers do pay for that excellent service they receive. If the employee's do not get on call pay they will not come in to work beyond their regular working hours. Dedication and a good work ethic have noting to do with it.
Post by theotherside on Jan 22, 2013 8:33:48 GMT -5
Brightlight, I agree with you when you said "that when both sides (LL&P & Union) reach an agreement they have a contract" but you claim that it is the union and some people who want LL&P to give in. To the contrary, I have seen the contract that the city and LL&P wants the workers to sign and it is preposterous! And they won't budge. That doesn't seem like negotiations. I have been told that if the city and LL&P stalls long enough they can force this ridiculous contract on those few god workers. Two other things. First the workers didn't join the union just to get more money, they were getting harassed every day by management. For example the management took their coffee pot! Then when the public found out it was promptly returned. Second the reason none of the other line worker joined is because LL&P call them all management, so they couldn't join. What gets me is there is 6 managers and three outside workers. Whats wrong with this picture? (I'm not talking about office staff). The entire LL&P company is supported by only three line workers!
hey not so bright have you looked at other municipals most of them if not all maybe a hand full in the state are union and employees and management get along.thats funny there wasn't any problems in Lowell until these so called managers arrived. now resident are finding out where they came from and how they treated people where they left. they should move on Lowell doesn't need bad managers. Lowell needs management that cares about "the workers" that care about the community they served like they been doing for years without these managers treating them like crape and taking things away and making the employees take days off during the week to work weekends for straight time thats rigtht only to say we "the management" saved a dollar so reward us again with a huge bonus and a key to the city. its time the counsel wakes up to smell the management bull....there being told. and fix this or wait for another election and let the public decide great service like we have had for years or new faces of employees. because the good ones have left.
Post by hopeforbetter on Jan 24, 2013 19:39:54 GMT -5
Why do we have only 3 employees in the field and why on earth is there still no contract for them. If we have the money to pay 6 administrators we certainly should be able to give our hard-working, dedicated employees the pay, benefits and security they deserve. It seems that a big issue that could be easily resolved is to delete such wording as “at the employer's sole discretion” and “not subject to the grievance procedure” from the contract. It seems senseless to expect anyone to sign a contract that offers to give benefits, etc. then states that the manager can for any reason (maybe having a bad day or upset with a particular employee) take those away with no recourse. No security there. Isn't a contract meant to help provide some sort of job security? Maybe just that could go a long ways in moving things along? Also, I wonder why the longtime employees who have joined the Union are being grouped with any new hires. It makes sense that if you want to cut costs you do that with new employees who sign on for it up front, not taking it AWAY from longtime employees. Give them a decent contract, then set up whatever you want for new employees. Get on with it and let these longtime employees know how much we appreciate them!!
Post by brightlight on Jan 25, 2013 14:09:56 GMT -5
To: "theotherside"..so the employees are getting harassed by management and they are screaming about a coffee pot?? REALLY? My question would be when were these few good workers using the coffee pot? On company or personal time? Where I used to work if you wanted to make coffee you came in early so it was ready by the time to start work and the company didn't pay for it. You had to contribute money in a can and someone would buy it with that money. If they didn't pay for the coffee pot or the coffee consider themselves lucky. I would guess it being removed might have possibly been for more reasons than harassment, like maybe, just maybe abuse?? Only those directly involved would know but may not care to share the whole story. And management has not only the right but the responsibility to monitor its employees activities while they are "on the clock". That is not harassment. If good workers are doing their jobs someone checking them on their job site would not bother them. Its called accountability. And by the way, there are not 6 managers at LLP. I checked and there is 1 General Mgr who is directly responsible for 2 other managers. The office staff are paid hourly. I would hope those involved with settling this contract, which apparently includes you since you have seen it, would structure your issues toward important things like job security, pay scales and insurance and retirement benefits, not coffee pots and little extras that should be considered "treats"
Post by brightlight on Jan 25, 2013 14:57:55 GMT -5
To: "greyfox"..not so bright here is well aware of the union environment in this state and its relationship with municipal utility workers. There are 41 members of the MMEA (Michigan Municipal Electric Assoc). I was able to verify with 34 out of the 41 that only 1 of that 34 is non-union and that company is in the UP with only 3 employees. I knew about all of the ones in this area but decided to take on the challenge of inquiring with the others. Yet, I fail to understand what makes you think that these companies with unions all get along with management. Is that because the have contracts? I spoke to one where it took almost 3 years to renew their last contract. LLP didn't have a union until December 2011 under the current management, which consists of only 1, not multiple managers that came from outside the area. Please refer to the Dear Voice of the People posting by Greg Canfield on 1/24/13, displaying a report from a mid-level employee who has been with LLP for many years and prior to the hiring of Greg Pierce in 2008. Look at the overview of the prior management's lack of leadership allowing these hard working, dedicated employees to come in late, leave early, drink coffee and visit with their friends at the gas station on the corner while on company time in company vehicles. I'm not saying that was their fault, apparently that action was acceptable at the time. Perhaps the employees who wanted the union did so because they are now expected to be accountable for the time they are being paid, which, by law, does not require 40 hrs/wk. It is the current management that keeps its workers busy so they can collect and rely on 40 hrs of pay every week instead of being sent home when there is no outside work to be done in bad weather. I'd say that is "caring" for the workers!! Take another look at the picture, there are NOT 6 managers and 3 outside employees at LLP. One GM, one finance manager and one distribution manager. The office staff is paid hourly as are those outside employees.
there is a coffee pot at city hall and at LLP offices that get used by management , guest and employees working in the offices and they don't pay for it I believe as long as it offered to the public it can be written off as an expense. recently I was working at a job site in town and seen for my self an employee with a LLP truck stop at shell get coffee go back to the job site pull in and out five times and never stop to talk to the two employees working and never did any thing when he was there. this in my eyes is harressment. to bad management has nothing better to do with are ratepayers money beside to keep misleading the public with crap I seen this happen several times over the course of a week what goes on the rest of the time maybe other ratepayers have noticed activities of this nature. its wrong and it needs to stop. is this what we the ratepayers have to look forward to how are money we pay in is getting spent I hope not get a grip on this its bullcrap.
Post by hopeforbetter on Jan 29, 2013 8:02:36 GMT -5
“Give these three workers a 7.8% pay increase (that's the average increase you gave your three managers) and bonus of around $1000. Agree to a grievance policy that ends with neutral arbitration, like the police have. Agree not to subcontract their jobs and lay them off Allow them to have a second job, like farming.” Otherside
Wow is this what is being haggled over in the contract. Could it really be that simple. Over $20,000 later ( haven't done the math but attorney's fees probably could have covered all this a year ago and saved everyone tremendous anxiety and frustration.) Let's get this contract signed and let these workers get back to their lives. Maybe management could find something better to do with their time and OUR money. I understand the City Manage doesn't even live in our town so this is costing HIM nothing (doesn't pay city taxes or our utility rates) but he's sure making big money to cause US such problems!!
Post by brightlight on Jan 31, 2013 12:48:18 GMT -5
Employees should be paid based on "fair market value", which means equal pay for equal work. In researching some of the other municipal electric line workers pay rates it seems the LLP line workers are being paid at and in some cities above the contracted pay rates for their line workers. There are some that may be slightly higher, however, time in grade and size of the work group may be the reason. Do you think LLP line employees should be paid more than other workers in the same industry for the same job duties? In a contract employees are paid at an agreed rate with or without increases over the life of the contract. That completely takes away pay for performance. So, as long as the employee shows up and does even marginal work he gets the same pay as a hard working, dedicated employee. Is that your "hope for the better"?
Post by theotherside on Jan 31, 2013 18:02:25 GMT -5
Brightlight, I would like to comment on Hopeforbetters reply because it quoted me. The recommendations I made to LL&P regarding the compensation of the three workers was based off the average pay increase enjoyed by the management. The bonus that I recommended was well below the average given to management at LL&P so I thought it was fair.
With this being said, I don't understand your position? Are you saying they don't deserve it? Correct me if I am wrong but doesn't LL&P pride itself of reliable power? I even believe that Board member Perry Beachum bragged about LL&P having a very quick response time among electrical utilities. And he has every right to because LL&P does. But that means that the three lineman, two of which joined the union, must be doing a excellent job. And I believe that Perry also commended LL&P for a national safety award, two years straight? Well that means that the third worker must also be doing a excellent job because he is your safety director. This is my view on the work ethic of these three workers.
I would like to also point out that I haven't heard the workers make mention of pay increases. All I have heard up to this point is they would some form of job security. I believe this entails not being laid off while temp or part time workers continue to work. I also believe that the would not like to be laid off or loose their job do to outsourcing. The othe two things that I heard is that the workers would like to be able to work their home farms (this personally makes me mad that LL&P would refuse this because I was raised on a farm). And they also would like a grievance policy that ends with a neutral judging the situation.
I know this is one point that Greg Candield has complained about along with the city. I really don't understand this position? The city of Lowell has an outstanding police force that has been in a union for many years and they haven't crippled the city. Another thing is the argument that this will take power away from management or local control. The neutral party would only judge policies agreed to in the contract signed by both parties. If the employer is in the right then they have nothing to worrie about. Isn't our society bases on fair an unbiased judgement. I think that was the vision of the founding fathers of this great nation. Wouldn't you agree?
Post by brightlight on Feb 5, 2013 16:15:01 GMT -5
First, let me respond to the pay increase issue. Any employer should be paying their employees within the pay scale of the work they perform. Especially with a union contract, workers are paid on a scale that is determined by a "fair market value" for the job. That doesn't mean they don't deserve a raise. But, if their pay scale is based on what other utilities pay their union line workers they are getting paid within that scale currently, not lower. If they were below then they should be brought up to their proper scale, whatever is decided when the contract is settled. Second, LLP does not or intends to deny any employee from farming!!! LL&P policy Section 3.11 Outside Employment in the Personnel Handbook states: “No employee may work at other employment which would lead to a conflict of interest or impair performance as an employee of the Utility. Written permission from the General Manager must be obtained before any outside work or employment is undertaken. No employee may utilize Utility facilities to conduct supplemental outside employment. If the General Manager determines that the outside employment would violate this policy, or if after outside employment has been approved, the General Manager determines the outside employment violated this policy, the employee may resign either the outside employment or their position with the Utility. All approvals of supplemental outside employment will be reviewed on an annual basis by the General Manager. Employees whose outside employment lasts for more than one (1) year are required to resubmit their request for approval annually, at performance evaluation time. Additionally, if the requirements and/or conditions of the supplemental employment change, the employee must promptly advise his/her supervisor and re-apply for approval with the new requirements and/or conditions.” Farming does not lead to a conflict of interest because LL&P is not in the farming business. If farming impairs the performance of the employee of the utility then this policy would apply. This policy does not state that employees are not able to work their home farms. If employees were engaged in performing electrical service upgrades for profit for customers of LL&P, this would lead to a conflict of interest because LL&P is responsible for providing the final hook-up to those customers that had service upgrades. Third; Under PA 312, requires compulsory arbitration of labor disputes in municipal police and fire departments. That is because they are not allowed, by occupation, to strike. If the employee has been disciplined or terminated improperly there are plenty of attornys that would take on their case if it has merit. Arbitration can take months even years to be decided. Is that what they really want? For example, someone is terminated and they take it all the way to arbitration; they can stay unemployed until the case is settled by the arbitrator. The current process in place at LLP takes much less time.
Post by theotherside on Feb 7, 2013 18:10:09 GMT -5
Yes you are right on the amount of time, just ask the two apprentices you fired. I say that because how are you getting all of this internal information. You fired them without just cause. Where did the evaluation reports go that there direct supervisor filled out ever week??? Oh they mysteriously disappeared! How convenient. He told you about them and how these evaluations prove they were doing an acceptable job at that board meeting when you announced they were being fired! I believe you fired them to eliminate two union members. Instead of five now you are down to 3. Which employee is next?
Next thing. I don't know what your current policy is at LL&P because I don't have your internal rules but I do have your proposed contracts and it clearly states that the decision of outside employment rest in the hands of your general manager, Greg Pierce and that his decision is not greivable. So if your Greg Pierce decides one day not to let them farm that's it no questions, they farm one more day and they can be fired from LL&P. Now that seem really fair!! How would you like that over your head???
Now on to act 312. It guarantees binding arbitration to both police and firefighters because they, by law, can't strike. Well if you would take the time to learn about your employees and any other municipal workers you would know that by law they can't strike either!!! So it's fair for some workers but not others??? Who gives you the right to make that decision? I believe that all workers are important and should be treated equal, don't you agree? I want a police officer as much as I want electricity to heat my home in the winter! I want a firefighter as much as I want clean drinking water, unplugged sewer system, and safe roads. Don't you agree??? Do you feel that you have that much power as a board member you get to decide what worker gets a huge raise and who gets nothing? No you don't citizens and rate payers like my self make those decisions. You work for us not your own personal addenda! As a citizen and a rate payer I demand equality amongst our workers. Your argument against fair arbitration is ridiculous. Are you afraid to let a neutral party decide if the rules you agreed to in your contract is fair? If they are fair then you have nothing to worry about. You make it sound like a neutral arbitrator is going to come in and tell you how to run LL&P. that's absurd. Do they tell the police how to fight crime? Or do they tell the firefighters how to put out a fire? If you don't know the answer is no. And they are not going to tell you how to provide power to me and over 4000 other people!
The argument that your way is better because it takes less time is a joke. What about taking a coffee maker from the guys that joins the union, real mature. I can see why these workers are in constant fear of loosing their jobs with that attitude.
Post by melissas43 on Jul 21, 2013 17:51:54 GMT -5
I used to be a HR Manager and the things that I saw in today's Buyers Guide that the City Employees have an issue with are things that employees in the work world encounter and are required to adhere to every day. The grievance procedure is similar to that in most companies and all that I have worked at in the past 30 years. Subcontracting is a fact of life in today's economic times. The concern the city employees have with outside employment has been a policy at every employer where I have worked over the past 30 years. At will employment has been a fact of life for non union members in Michigan for as long as I have been in the work force. I was actually for the employees until I saw their issues because even though I have lived in this town my entire life, I think the City government, policies, procedures, and just in general leave much to be desired and I am not a fan. However, if this is this seriously what has held up the contracts for years, then the city employees need a good dose of reality.