Ever since FirstEnergy bought the former Allegheny Power companies, its management has been intent on busting up its union work force. Unhappy and unskilled workers directly translate into more frequent and prolonged power outages for customers.
Below is a letter from the spouse of one of FirstEnergy's union workers. She's writing anonymously, to prevent retribution from FirstEnergy's management. Show your support for union workers by leaving a message for FirstEnergy management in the comments. Tell FirstEnergy you want them to negotiate a fair contract with their workforce!
FirstEnergy, the parent company of West Penn Power and the employer of 695 workers in the several local unions in the area, is engaged in a contract negotiating process right now.
As FirstEnergy moves to negotiate, it’s clear that they are fully invested in reforming the way that the former Allegheny Energy has done business and they are fully invested in bargaining for a contract that favors only one side. The company is now proposing sweeping changes in every aspect of ‘work life’ for their union employees.
Previously employees in the bargaining unit were afforded the ability to work hard and be rewarded for that work. These are men and women with families who have spent time in the classroom and they’ve spent countless hours learning and relearning safety procedure after safety procedure. They’ve moved up from one job to another to secure the job they have now. They have earned the privilege of seniority, providing the company with an extremely valuable experienced, safe and dedicated work staff.
FirstEnergy would like to modify the job requirements effective immediately. Employees who’ve worked hard to put themselves in positions with set schedules would be subject to working at the will of the company. Jobs which have weekends and nights off now – jobs that these men and women have competed for – will be scheduled by shifts or even worse with no considered pre-planning. Workers will be forced to work a 16 hour shift and told to not report the following day, with no predictability and not a dime of overtime pay, effectively eliminating their ability to plan quality time with their families and completely discounting the effort, time and planning that it’s taken these employees to put themselves in these positions.
I fully support the company’s right to efficiently and effective manage and schedule their staff. They do have obligation to make the company profitable and provide a decent return on investment. I do find it hard to believe that the best solution for all is to put the burden on the people who come to work, learn their job, put themselves in harm’s way and earn their wage in the field. I believe, however, that it is the easiest way to do it and the way that is the least painful for the upper levels of management. It’s the way that keeps their salaries intact. It’s the way that does not force them to review efficient conduct of business logistics, from inefficient orders and computer systems that don’t make sense to a top heavy management structure.
I just don’t see how the public can continue to believe that the company tasked with keeping our lights on is continuing to act from any other motivation than management’s greed.