EWEB Management will continue to answer questions from employees. The list below starts with our initial list of FAQs we have already heard and are also responses to statements and claims by IBEW and advocates of organizing. Additional questions will note date submitted and date answered so this will be a running FAQ list.
Question 41: As a MAPT employee I am very concerned about the ramifications of being represented by the IBEW. In particular, I understand unions base pay, benefits and job responsibilities on seniority as opposed to performance. Can you please explain how this could play out if the IBEW does represent the current professional, technical and administrative employees? 2/28/13
Benefits and wages are mandatory topics of bargaining and would have to be negotiated. Determining how to staff the Utility and defining the job responsibilities required to accomplish that is a management right.
Presently, the MAPT compensation program is performance based. Jobs are priced and placed into broad salary ranges. Employees are situated in those ranges based on performance and the degree of skill and experience they bring to the job. The market rate for the job is generally the mid-point of the range so it’s standard for high performing employees to be placed above the market rate for their job.
In a union environment, compensation structures are generally longevity-based. That is to say compensation is tied to time in position. Wages are negotiated so jobs would still be priced against the market for like positions but rather than use broad performance-based ranges, there would likely be a number of defined steps. If any percentage above the market rate were to be contemplated, it would have to be negotiated. In a system like this, pay is not tied to performance in any way so there’s little motivation for organizations with longevity or defined step-systems like this to agree to pay bands broad enough to allow salaries to exceed the market mid-point by very much.
Question 42: Does IBEW collect dues through EWEB payroll? If so, is it a % of income or a flat monthly fee? Is it the same for the new facilities staff that joined IBEW as for the other IBEW membership or did they negotiate a different rate?
Can you provide an estimate (based on the current rate of dues collected) of the amount of money that would be paid to IBEW by Administration, Professional, and Technical Staff annually out of our paychecks? 3/4/13
EWEB management is not able to estimate the dues the IBEW or EWEB Professionals might collect in a newly formed unit as this would be determined by the IBEW or EWEB Professionals. Here’s a description of how dues are calculated for EWEB’s current group of IBEW members.
The IBEW does collect dues through EWEB payroll. This is done monthly versus a deduction from each pay check. The dues paid by present IBEW members, including facilities workers, is a combination of percentage of monthly wages + a flat amount. For these workers, the percentage amount is determined by how the IBEW classifies workers – there’s a journey rate and a non-journey rate. Also, there are two options on the flat fee. Here’s an example:
Dues = Base Monthly rate X % rate + flat amount
IBEW uses 173.33 hours per month to calculate the “Base Monthly Rate”.
% rate for IBEW Journey positions = 1.25%
% rate for IBEW non Journey positions = 1.0%
Flat amount for “A” Members = $31.35 (“A” Option includes pension and death benefits)
Flat amount for “BA” Members = $16.35
Employee’s elect to be “A” or “BA” members when they join the union.
Example of an “A” member journey position, “A” member dues calculation:
Hourly wage = $40/hour
($40 X 173.33 hours) X 1.25% + 31.35 = $118.02
Question 43: I do not want to be in any union. The section I’m in, however, is listed on the “EWEB Professionals” filed petition. I did not sign as part of the 30% signatures. And there are other employee(s) with the same job title as I have that are not in the Engineering or Environmental departments. Can that be reason enough, I hope, to remove me from “EWEB Professionals” proposed bargaining unit? 3/2/13
Here's an example of what your question appears to be describing:
The present petition for unit recognition from the EWEB Professionals includes all job classifications reporting into Environmental Services and Engineering. Administrative classifications (like Admin II & III) are included. EWEB could argue that including them creates a fragment of the larger administrative group and submit objections on that basis. That doesn't automatically "remove" anyone from the proposed unit. Instead, ERB would consider EWEB's objection and make a ruling.
At this writing, EWEB is still considering the best avenue for its response to the EWEB Professionals petition. The present deadline for EWEB's response to this petition is March 14th. Since new developments occur around this every day, we will likely wait until the last possible moment to submit our response or to file any objections.
There are a few aspects to this question.
1. If you and your co-workers were not able to attend one Management's open Q&A sessions, we can explore the possibility of holding another session at your worksite or find some other way for management to address your questions.
2. If your interest is in speaking to IBEW union organizing representatives to get their point of view, you can contact the IBEW office in Medford at 541-664-0800. We also found this contact information on the IBEW organizing website: http://www.ewebemployees.org/ Contact name: Greg Creal email: Greg_Creal@ibew.org
3. In addition to the IBEW, there is another group of EWEB employees that have filed a unit recognition petition. They are called the EWEB Professionals and at this writing, their proposed group is made up of employees reporting in to Engineering and Environmental Services. That petition is signed by Dan Olmstead, an Engineering employee so you could also contact him if you have an interest in understanding that group's objectives. We also found this contact information on the EWEB Professionals. Facebook: Search EWEB Professional Employees (not on EWEB network!) email: EwebProfessionalEmployees@gmail.com
4. There are some employees who have let management know they oppose any organization efforts but they have not chosen to designate a central point of contact or to directly disclose their names. If this is your interest, perhaps your best option is to check out the EWEB FAQ's and track EWEB announcements and postings closely so as to stay informed as the process unfolds.
The basic answer is no. Employees who are included within a certified bargaining unit cannot opt out, and cannot choose to be in a different bargaining unit or be represented by a different union on their own action or choice. Please also see FAQ #34 (FAQ p. 2) for more information about decertification.
Yes, the original response deadline was 3/14/13 based on the original petition. The EWEB Professionals submitted an amendment yesterday morning so we have new date – April 4th. As we understand it, the petition still proposes only the Engineering & Environmental groups but addressed some duplicative section entries or missing sections.
Question 47: Will you please provide a summary of the current status of unionizing efforts, with any changes since the last post in March? (For example, I've heard that the EWEB Professionals group has withdrawn their petition, is that true? Has IBEW filed anything with ERB, or do you know if they intend to continue their campaign?) 5/16/13
Here's what happened with the EWEB Professionals. You may recall that group filed a petition for unit recognition in February and then made modifications to their petition in March. EWEB management and a representative from the EWEB Professionals prepared for and were scheduled to appear at an ERB hearing on Monday, 4/29. On Friday, 4/26, the EWEB Professionals notified ERB and EWEB that they were withdrawing their petition so the hearing was cancelled. There is no longer an active petition from this group.
EWEB hasn't received notice from the ERB that any other petition - by the IBEW or any other group - has been filed. EWEB is required to post information about any petitions that are filed, so if one is received, the requisite notices will be posted on bulletin boards throughout the Utility. EWEB would communicate that through other means as well, possibly e-mail or Daily Announcements. The Supervisors and Managers of any affected employees would also be notified.
EWEB management appropriately doesn't have any knowledge surrounding the status of the IBEW's organizing campaign.
Management's recommendation continues to be that employees should stay informed by regularly checking EWEB's regular communications channels - including this site. You should also keep an eye on bulletin boards for postings from EWEB or petitioning groups. Checking in with your co-workers may also be a good idea.
There were actually two organizing efforts that we are aware of; one from a group called EWEB Professionals group (originating from Engineering & Environmental Services) and one from the IBEW. At this writing, EWEB hasn't been notified of any petition for any unit recognition. The EWEB Professionals withdrew their petition for unit recognition in April.
We haven't heard much from the IBEW about their campaign or status. The IBEW (or any other group) is under no obligation to notify EWEB if they choose to resume their organizing campaign efforts. Management will do its best to keep employees informed on this topic to the extent that is possible and appropriate.
The contract requires the Utility to provide designated bulletin boards or bulletin board space in shops or sections where represented employees are assigned. These boards or designated spaces are intended for official union business and there are rules surrounding what can and cannot be posted and by whom. With the exception of the IBEW members working on the 4th floor at HQ, all IBEW represented employees work out of offices at ROC or EWEB field locations.
The postings pertaining to the IBEW's organizing efforts are intended for employees who are not presently represented by the IBEW and are subject to EWEB's rules and practices around how EWEB's other bulletin boards are used. To this point, EWEB hasn't had a clearly defined policy controlling the general-use bulletin boards and has been very flexible around what employees are permitted to post. Postings have included everything from company-sponsored information to things like baby shower announcements and restaurant menus. The only real "rule" we've used is that company postings like, safety minutes, required compliance postings, and announcements for company sponsored events (Safety & Health Expo, etc.) get preference for bulletin board real estate.
However, having a tenant who shares our HQ entrance and some of our learning pertaining to public ethics have caused us to take another look at how the boards should be used. The ethics laws provide some guidance around this for public employers and in response, HR is working on a new bulletin board policy that will limit the kinds of information that can be posted. The new policy will be released after it has been vetted with EWEB legal counsel and adopted by the Leadership Team. Part of the adoption process will include providing reasonable notice to the IBEW. We anticipate the release of the new policy in January of 2014.
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