Posted: June 7, 2012
To Members of IBEW Local 1245
at Gas Transmission Northwest:
There are rumors in the air, apparently perpetuated by TransCanada management, that require a response from “your” negotiating committee.
Rumor #1: The “rumor” has it that TransCanada has indicated that the Union suspended negotiations! This is precisely why the Union took the time to meet with each of you and explain what occurred at the bargaining table. Just in case there is any doubt in anyone’s mind, we are reiterating in writing what led us to cease bargaining.
On the day bargaining was suspended, the Union put forward a proposal that was our bottom line for making a “yes” recommendation. Each of you were provided that proposal when we recently visited your headquarters. After providing TransCanada that proposal they caucused, they invited us back to the table to explain that they would not be agreeing with our “yes” recommendation proposal. The parties began to discuss what would happen next; the Union indicated that the agreement was in an evergreen status, but they were willing to continue bargaining. TransCanada went on to state that not having the Union’s “yes” recommendation was as good as a “no” vote, and thus there was no need to continue to bargain. The parties agreed to suspend bargaining. The Union stands ready to resume bargaining at any point TransCanada is interested in continuing. Although, unless TransCanada agrees with a proposal equal in value to that proposal last provided them, the Union will not be making a “yes” recommendation.
The union is ready to resume bargaining whenever TransCanada is!
Rumor #2: It seems that a member of TransCanada’s bargaining team has indicated that their team was surprised by the Union giving them an ultimatum. First, the use of the word “ultimatum” is a curious one. The Union through their proposal placed a value on their “yes” recommendation. That value was underestimated by TransCanada and using their words “was a total surprise”. There was no ultimatum; just a statement of value for the Union’s bargaining unit and your committee’s yes recommendation!
This same TransCanada bargaining team member allegedly went on to say that Dennis Seyfer “was at the negotiations to make sure that the wage increase did not exceed the 2.75% that PG&E offered”. First of all, PG&E offered 3.25% in the first year of their agreement - a full 2.75% more than TransCanada was offering! But more to the point, Dennis’ area of responsibility is Public and Private sector entities, exclusive of PG&E, Construction and Trees. Dennis’ goal is now and has been for the last 23 years to do the very best he can to achieve the most advantageous agreement possible for the members negotiating at that time!
In our opinion, a statement such as that allegedly made by a TransCanada bargaining team member is made in desperation because of the value TransCanada has placed on your expertise, dedication and loyalty.
Neil Isley, Darryl Norris, Shaun O’Neill, Darin Perna, Dennis Seyfer, Paul Weid