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No end in sight for TID, linemen's union negotiations

POSTED September 24, 2013 6:02 p.m.

Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Turlock Irrigation District were unable to reach any sort of mutual agreement on the linemen's contract on Tuesday, despite actively participating in closed session negotiations for most of the day.

TID Director of Human Resources Martin Purdy said that as of Tuesday morning, no consensus has been made between the two parties.

Purdy said he could not go into details into the stipulations regarding the new proposals, but did state that some of the major themes included exchanges regarding days off, wage increases, benefits and retirement plans.

“We continue to have good, positive exchanges,” said Purdy.

Currently, TID linemen who belong to IBEW are working under the old memorandum of understanding that expired in December 2011. Legally, the district cannot discontinue use of the  previous contract until it has concluded negotiations with the union.

The possibility of that conclusion occurring in the near future, however, still seems bleak.

“There is still no definitive date,” said Purdy.

In October 2011, two months prior to the expiration of the old contract, 40 linemen failed to answer their phones after a reported outage leaving 49 TID customers without  power for almost two days.  Although the IBEW did not formally say it went on strike, the fiasco did leave room for speculation that the ongoing negotiations was a direct cause of the linemen's unwillingness to respond to the outage.

According to Purdy, the district and the IBEW have not yet scheduled another negotiation session, but the district will be in “constant communication,” with the union.

 

 

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