As of Tuesday, September 22, 2015
PORTLAND, ORE. – Pacific Power says it will be business as usual for its customers despite an employee picket scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday.
The utility’s employees in the IBEW, Local 125, announced they will be picketing Pacific Power’s headquarters in Portland, Ore. to protest what they say is the company’s plan to shift health costs and reduce take-home pay.
The picketing is expected to include linemen, wiremen, metermen, dispatchers and clerical staff employed by Pacific Power.
The protest is expected to begin at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning.
“Pacific Power is an extremely profitable company – a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway – and their plan to short change workers is corporate greed at its worst,” claims Travis Eri, business manager for IBEW 125, which represents the workers.
“We take pride in our work and love serving our communities. But when the company forces our compensation down below the industry standard, it hurts local families and causes our experienced workers to look for work elsewhere.
“That jeopardizes service and reliability for everyone,” Eri said.
Eri notes job sectors represented at tomorrow’s picket represent many employees who perform high-risk work directly on the electrical system, including high-voltage transmission and distribution lines.
Pacific Power spokesman Ry Schwark confirms the company is in negotiations with the union.
“Pacific Power and the IBEW have a long relationship going back many years, and have a long history of successful bargaining and working together to serve our customers,” says Schwark.
“We are currently involved in bargaining with Local 125, and we look forward to reaching a mutually agreeable conclusion.”
He says tomorrow’s picket will not impact Pacific Power’s service to a region that includes Sunnyside and the Lower Yakima Valley.
“We expect no staffing issues on Wednesday,” Schwark said.