BUSINESS MANAGER COVID-19 UPDATE 5-23-2020
Brothers and Sisters,
As we move into the 4th month of the COVID-19 pandemic our members continue to respond to the challenge. Our members have proven invaluable throughout this pandemic, carrying the added pressures of being a utility worker & dealing with a volatile product.
Unfortunately, with the changing world around us our members have been unable to benefit from time away from work with so many national, state and city orders restricting travel. In addition, WEC themselves have put travel restrictions on our members. In a unified front, Local 18007 partnered with Local 2150, Local 420, Local 2006, and Local 31 and presented WEC with a proposal for additional carryover PTO days with an option to pay out unused PTO days. The following is what was sent to WEC.
Kevin Fletcher President and Chief Executive Officer
Re: Vacation Carryover or PTO/Pay Out of Vacation or PTO
Employees’ opportunities to take vacations and PTO have been and are greatly limited by COVID-19 pandemic issues such as restrictions on travel out of state and internationally as well as closures of vacation destinations, including out-of-State, in-State and Local attractions. Also, to prevent the company having to deny vacation later in the year. Locals 2006, 18007, 2150, 31 and 420 agree with WEC Energy that the amount of vacation or PTO that is allowed to carry over per bargaining agreements will be doubled. The parties also agree that if the employee chooses, the company will pay out up to the amount of carryover vacation or PTO allowed in each bargaining agreement. “WEC has resolved this issue with Local 31, however Local 31 stands in solidarity with all Local Unions who expect the same treatment as it is the right thing to do”
From the beginning of this pandemic, WEC President Kevin Fletcher along with PGL leaders have been sending numerous communications to all union members referencing how we are all in this together, how the company truly appreciates our members efforts throughout the pandemic, and how WEC cares for its workers. As all union members know, actions speak louder than words -especially with sentiments about caring for our members.
Brothers and Sisters, as first responders, as frontline workers, as essential workers, our actions have spoken loudly across Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois but when the opportunity was presented to the company to do right by its workers and sincerely show appreciation the proposal was denied. See below:
Dear union leaders,
While we’ve all been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated state and local restrictions and guidelines, the company has continued to encourage employees to take the appropriate time away from work during the pandemic to relax and rejuvenate. To that end, the company also has not denied the use of vacation time during the pandemic.
Although travel options certainly may be more limited than in the past as a result of the pandemic, perhaps leading to changes in specific vacation plans, employees should still take time away.
I appreciate you suggesting the adjustment to the vacation carry-over option; however, we believe that all of our employees will have ample opportunity to use their remaining vacation time during 2020, and thus decline to enter into this agreement.
I want to thank our Union Brothers and Sisters, the other locals, and their leadership teams. It is tremendous working with all of you. It is a strong partnership that we have with all our unions and we will continue to work together while dealing with these issues as a whole.
Strength through Unity
Adrian Dueñas Business Manager Local 18007