Skip to comments.Sandy: Long Island union sent written demand to Florida utilities: Pay dues or stay home
Posted on 11/04/2012 2:44:25 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
In a two-page Oct. 29 contract, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) local 1049 demanded union dues, pay hikes and benefit contributions from Florida electric utilities before its workers would be permitted to help reconnect power to Long Island communities. The demand came as Hurricane Sandy was bearing down on the Northeastern United States, stranding tens of millions without electricity.
The Letter of Assent, which The Daily Caller obtained from the Florida Municipal Electric Association, demanded 11 separate financial commitments from municipal power companies and electrical cooperatives in the Sunshine State. The agreement, for any utility that decided to sign it, would have been in force from Oct. 29 to Nov. 29.
Barry Moline, the associations executive director, told TheDC that by Nov. 1 the union, based in the central Long Island town of Hauppauge, had relented and stopped insisting that nonunion crews pay dues and other union fees.
The union director himself placed a phone call to withdraw the letter, Moline said during a telephone interview Saturday. But that came only after Moline had notified a national trade group, the American Public Power Association, which turned outrage into action.
Letter mid-page -- use "view in full screen" function
The Florida Municipal Electric Association is a statewide trade group that represents 34 separate utility companies. The letter, Moline said, was sent to Floridas nonunion power companies.
We had crews ready to go on Monday when the storm hit, he told TheDC. We had dozens of line workers ready to go. There have been hundreds of line workers who have been told, We dont want you unless youre part of the union. And as a result, people in New York and New Jersey are having the power turned on slower than everywhere else.
The word we were getting all week was that New York was short by hundreds of [electric] linemen, he told TheDC. Well, okay. Weve got them. Florida is two days away, so you need a head start.
Of those workers who were ready to drive north, he said, probably about 25 stayed put because of the Long Island IBEW locals demands. Another 35 were delayed by five days.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Friday that he wouldnt permit discrimination against nonunion crews eager to help reconnect consumers who have gone without power for days. He threatened to invoke his offices emergency powers if necessary.
But in New York, no government official has stepped in to ensure that utility crews from other states wont have to show their union membership cards before going to work even though their own employers are paying for them to repair power lines in the Empire State.
Eventually, Moline said, his states crews went everywhere else affected by Sandy, but it was only in New York where the union had to give their blessing.
It just made me sick that youve got people who have no power, he said, and you hear about a lot of people dying.
On Saturday TheDC requested comments from New York State Public Service Commissioner James Larocca and spokespersons for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, State Labor Commissioner Peter Rivera and New York City May0r Michael Bloomberg.
Only one of those persons responded and asked for a copy of the letter. He would not answer questions on the record about whether government agencies could have exercised or did exercise emergency powers to clear the way for nonunion power crews who wanted to assist.
N.Y. Energy Law 5-117 addresses the governors special powers during [an] energy or fuel emergency, but those powers are limited to fuel and energy allocation, stopping wasteful energy uses, and temporarily waiving environmental laws.
TheDC also emailed Don Daley Jr., IBEW local 1049′s business manager and financial secretary, for comment. Daleys name appeared on the Letter of Assent emailed to the Florida utilities, as the person who would sign on the unions behalf.
He did not respond to questions about whether his union is using a natural disaster to grow its membership and collect revenue.
Claims similar to Floridas have come in from Alabama and Georgia since the superstorm hit, but this report marks the first time documentary evidence has been presented to the public.
The letter received by Florida utilities demanded that they pay IBEW member dues, provide workers with union-scale wages plus overtime, and allow crews to observe the normal working hours dictated by the IBEWs contract.
It also required the companies to pay fixed percentages of every workers hourly wage into seven separate union-controlled funds, including a $9.75 per work-hour payment to the IBEWs health care plan and 22.5 cents for every dollar of salary into its pension fund.
TheDC calculated that for a nonunion crew foreman normally earning $40 per hour in Florida, the mandated higher wages plus union contributions and dues would force a utility to pay $67.74 per hour for each worker completing power restoration tasks in New York.
For work performed on weekends or after 4:00 p.m. on weekdays, that overall rate would jump to $70.38.
On Saturday TheDC reported that a Florida utility crewman said his employer idled workers while a much longer union contract document went through legal review earlier in the week.
An IBEW spokesman told TheDC on Friday that the IBEW did not send the documents, nor did any of our locals.
But he didnt reply when asked if he had communicated with all 273 locals in the union districts where Sandys impact was felt. Those include 20 IBEW locals in New Jersey, 48 in New York, 10 in Connecticut and 52 in Pennsylvania.
Its now clear that at least one of those 48 New York locals no. 1049 on long Island did make membership demands as a condition of Florida utilities coming north to help restore electricity.
The name of the letters electronic file was letter of assent E No Car GENERIC, suggesting that it may have been drafted first for North Carolina utilities. So far, no utilities from that state have come forward to say they were approached by IBEW local 1049.
Moline said some power utilities in Florida are unionized and others are not. That decision should be approached thoughtfully and deliberately, he explained. Were not going to be held hostage.
Im not anti-union, he insisted. I think unions are fine. I was just surprised to find that in the middle of an emergency that the union would stand in the way.
I didnt know how the Long Island Power Authority was putting up with it, he said. The union was saying, No, you have to join us first.
I thought, Is this really happening?
The MSM said these crews just misunderstood something...
Now its in writing
If you want to help me out of a jam, pay up suckah!
“............A few weeks ago, I chanced to be in Saint Pierre and Miquelon, a French colony of 6,000 people on a couple of treeless rocks in the North Atlantic. Every electric line is underground. Indeed, the droll demoiselle who leads tours of the islands makes a point of amusingly drawing American visitors attention to this local feature.
If youre saying, Whoa, that sounds expensive, well, our government is more expensive than any government in history and we have nothing to show for it. Imagine if Obamas 2009 stimulus had been spent burying every electric pole on the Eastern Seaboard. Instead, just that one Obama bill spent a little shy of a trillion dollars, and no one can point to a single thing it built. A big storm requires Big Government, pronounced the New York Times. But Washington is so big-hearted with Big Government it spends $188 million an hour that it doesnt have 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Ramadan. And yet, mysteriously, multi-trillion-dollar Big Government Obama-style cant do anything except sluice food stamps to the dependent class, lavish benefits and early retirement packages to the bureaucrats that service them, and so-called government investment to approved Obama cronies.
So you can have Big Government bigger (or, anyway, more expensive) than any governments ever been, and the lights still go out in 17 states because your president spent 6 trillion bucks and all the country got was a lousy Air Force One bomber jacket for him to wear while posing for a Twitpic answering the phone with his concerned expression.............”
Wow...boggles the mind...
These union goons are some cold hearted bastards...
The NE unions own the politicians and in turn the citizens. This is like the mafia. You will comply and pay in treasure and blood.
I’m glad, unions, keep it up! It’s so endearing ;-)
I heard that Christie has intervened on home owners insurance contracts, between home owners and insurance companies. A contract between two parties, and the big man enforces change in terms after agreement.
Where is he on these contracts between two parties, electrical employee and union?
I’m curious as to how many non-union utility companies complied, and paid the union ransom demands placed upon freezing and starving citizens.
This is gonna go “over like a fart in church”, with all those stranded, miserable, suffering people.
There's been a bit of serious government subsidy behind that power system!
NJ outages going great this weekend.
I’ll be sure to send a thank you letter to the NY ibew .
It would be great to see all those out of state utility trucks line up at the border, waiting for permission to help without PAYING for it.
Oh, they’ll moan and complain and then vote for the same stupid liberals who continue to wreck havoc on their lives. Is there something wrong in the brains of people in that area? I just don’t get it. I know Michael Savage has said that liberalism is a mental disorder - and maybe he is right. I’m beginning to wonder.
Would be even better if nor’easter skips over NJ and clobbers Staten island.
Watch the southern volunteers leave the snow to work in NJ:)
We live in a Deep Blue region near Chicago.
My son had the temerity to post this story to his Facebook account. The ad hominem attacks, including denials that this ever happened, which ensued were epic.
I just went to post this link to the thread and it’s been removed by FB after a flagging. (Sounds like “fragging” eh?)
Some folks just can’t stand to hear the truth.
Why wait when you can work in NJ.
We even got cheaper gas.
In 2004 we had miles of electric truck convoys on I4 and I75. i saw a multitude of tags from many states. we had 4 hurricanes back to back.
all i can say is..wow if this doesnt prove the debauchery of unions....
You won't hear ANYTHING against the Unions by the Government, because Unions are their money-laundering subsidiary, to keep the Dues flowing to the DNC.
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