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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

My June newsletter article is addressing the Customer Contact Centers, both Scranton and Lehigh and the recent announcement of a ‘Return to the Office pilot.’

Let me start this by saying that I understand the shock, confusion, frustration and concern with regards to the recent announcement of a Return to the Office pilot for the Customer Contact Center and the impact this will have on you both at work and outside of work.

I can tell you that many of the concerns mentioned have been discussed extensively between the parties. Some of the concerns mentioned are listed below:

  • Travel to and from the rostered work location with regards to ability (access to vehicle/no driver’s license), distance and time.
  • Making arrangements for home obligations, child/family care, etc.
  • Impact on other employment outside of PPL.

For the members hired after March of 2020, I know that the external posting for the position that you accepted stated it was remote work.  I’m also pretty confident that when you were interviewed and hired there was no mention that there was a chance that you may have to report to your rostered work location.  IBEW Local 1600 has no participation in the external hiring process, therefore we can’t help with was or was not said.

To provide a little history, the Work from Home agreement was a product of the ‘Shelter in Place’ order initiated by Governor Wolf back in March of 2020.  This was done in an effort to provide necessary electric service to the public and to keep our members employed.

I know it was asked if this is a grievable issue.  Currently, no it’s not.  The Company is within its rights as noted in the attached Work from Home agreement (refer to #7).  Be advised that ‘Business Needs’ is a very broad statement.

With that being said, please realize that the initial rotation is by volunteer only.  There is no requirement right now.  However, there will be.  When speaking with the Company I asked if a schedule could be created as far out as possible.  This is to help you to make any necessary arrangements in order to report to your rostered work location for your rotation.  If for some reason you are unable to report for your rotation, you do have the ability to swap your rotation with a fellow co-worker.  This will help provide some flexibility with regards to any other commitments you may have.

I realize this is not the ideal situation.  I also realize that accepting a position that you believed to be entirely remote and then find out it’s not, is frustrating at best.  I do believe

in-person training and assistance will help with a better understanding and performance of your position.  I am not saying there are performance issues.  However, I can say, as someone who had this job at one time, the information, processes, requirements and expectations are enormous.  Add to that a Billing Crisis for more than ½ of the PPL customer base, cut season, when there really wasn’t one for the past few years and then a double payment issue…Good God when will it end.  That I don’t know.  What I do know is that you are the best at what you do.  The Return to Office pilot is to help enhance your ability and not just the customer experience but your experience as well.

I do ask that you give it a chance.  I, as well as the CCC stewards, will be keeping a close eye on this whole process.  If you have any questions, concerns and/or comments please don’t hesitate to contact me at 610-554-8376 or by email (jbiever1600@gmail.com).  You can also contact one of the CCC stewards, Jess Bechtel, chief steward, Karen Renard, steward and Maritza Rodriguez, steward.

Click here for MA-22-0180 Work At Home

Terry Elekes

Author Terry Elekes

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The Susquehanna Unit Meeting 1600-7 scheduled for June 11, 2024 is canceled due to our meeting location not being available.