As you are aware, Talen announced the reduction of 131 (reduced to 128) job positions. On August 2nd the Union verified the affected employees. I want to take this opportunity to explain some proposals and decisions that were made during the past 2 ½ months. Please click here to read the attached letter addressed to Paul Farr
Let me start by saying that I am sick and tired of the company putting on this fake perception that the company and Union are working so well together and then throwing the Union, and specifically myself, under the bus to hide their unwillingness to entertain anything the Union proposes for the good of the members.
Within the last 2 weeks management at Susquehanna, from Sr. Leadership on down, have been telling the membership that they were willing to go outside the Article X language to afford more enhanced retirement opportunities but Steve Knoebel and the Union would not allow it. Let me make it clear that the proposal to minimize lay-offs by allowing the no job/no pay security employees to have access to Box 2 of the process prior to going to Box 10 was made by the Union in a meeting back in May. It would have resulted in roughly 35 volunteer retirements across the system, reducing lay-offs by the same amount. Unfortunately the company did not accept the Unions proposal for all displaced employees. While Susquehanna management might have been in agreement, the leaders in fossil were not, even though the resulting retirements in fossil would be minimal. I cannot allow the company to divide the Union by allowing select employees with no job/no pay security access to Box 2 without providing the entire no job/no pay security folks that same opportunity to stay gainfully employed. And by the management team at Susquehanna making statements without telling the whole story, that is was the company that shot down the Union’s proposal, they accomplished the divide in the membership that they so desired.
I went as far as phoning CEO Paul Farr to rethink this rejection of our proposal but again I was shot down. The company actually tried to convince me that the loss of 10 or so senior people at Montour and Brunner Island combined would result in a loss of too much knowledge. BS. Then they tried to use the cost factor. Again, BS. They didn’t care about loss of knowledge or cost when they offered enhanced voluntary retirement to management personnel. The true reason is they know these senior employees will be retiring in the near future anyway and they have no intention of filling the vacancies; Therefore decreasing us all the more while trying to get away with using contractors.
And since the floodgates are open with Susquehanna management talking, I will tell you of another Union divide that was presented to us as a job saver. The company proposed to remove the maintenance positions at Susquehanna from the displaced list if we agreed that they would work hand in hand with contractors on the jobs. They would tailboard together, work for the same foreman, etc. While they tried to sell this as saving our jobs, it is really a scam to save contractors jobs that are rightfully ours. It would be great for the company to bring in unqualified contractors to work under your qualifications since you would be working together. If we allow that to start how many of us will they need? Ten maintenance crews, 10 employees and 80+ contractors? Ten RP crews, 10 employees and 50-60 contractors? Where would it end?In a last ditch effort to have the company reconsider, I sent a letter to CEO Paul Farr, which is included in this posting, spelling out some benefits of allowing the Box 2 option to ALL displaced employees. Once again, they would not agree in full.
While the decision not to allow the Box 2 access to Susquehanna employees only is not one I personally prefer to make, it is one I have to make. As an elected official of the Union I am obligated to work for the members as a whole. It is difficult because I know and worked with some of the senior employees that dedicated themselves to making this the great company it once was, only to be denied a show of gratitude for all they did. More difficult is knowing and have worked with some of the employees on the other end of the stick. It hurts knowing that some of these great people will be lost. But again, it is the only decision that can be made.
As you can tell, I’m not in a very good mood as I’m writing this just as there are frustrated members out there. Myself or the Union is not out to screw anyone group of our membership, the Union is to look out for the best interest of our members as a whole. Do not fall prey to the divide and conquer tactics of the company. If you feel you are getting screwed out there it is the company holding the screwdriver while throwing blame on us. Don’t buy it. United we Stand, Divided we Fall.