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IBEW 569 Update from BM Jeremy Abrams – New Contract

Jeremy Abrams, IBEW 569 Business Manager, Card Number A129528, with some additional important updates for our members and union.

Hello IBEW 569 Brothers and Sisters – Jeremy Abrams, your business manager, Card Number A129528.

We have a new IBEW 569 Inside Contract!

This is a one-year contract with a 5.9% wage increase – which is an additional $2.65 an hour bringing us to $47.65 an hour – and becomes effective August 31st, and we did not give up our sick time.

IBEW 569 fought for a fair contract and higher wages, and CIR has issued their determination. Let me read you the DECISION:

After careful consideration of the evidence submitted, the Council rules as follows:

1. The parties are instructed to amend Article I, Section 1.01 to show the period of agreement as being from June 1, 2020 through May 31, 2021.

2(a). The hourly wage for Journeyman Wireman shall be increased $2.65 per hour, effective August 31, 2020.

2(b). The present wage and fringe benefit differentials for all classifications other than those specifically mentioned in this decision shall be maintained in accordance with the present agreement.

3(a). The hourly wage for CW1 shall be increased $1.00 per hour, effective August 31, 2020.

3(b). The hourly wage for CW/CE 2-5 shall be increased $0.30 per hour, effective August 31, 2020.

3(c). Any portion of the scheduled wage increase may be allocated to the existing Fringe Benefit Funds at the option of the Local Union.

3(d). In addition to the above wage increases, the employer contribution for CE 5-6 to the existing Pension Fund shall be increased $1.40 per hour, effective August 31, 2020.

To summarize the background of this decision, which is the largest single wage increase this local has received…

Our 2020 Inside Negotiating Committee met more than 20 times with our NECA counterparts, and prepared arguments and negotiation materials for more than 500 hours.

Unfortunately, NECA did not put anything fair or worthy of your vote on the table.

To the point, the best offer on wages from NECA was $3.05 over three years – let me be clear and break that down – that’s a wage increase of a single dollar a year plus a whole nickel in the end – and NECA expected IBEW 569 members to give up our sick days for that.

Additionally, NECA was trying to get rid of your tunnel pay and high time, and NECA wanted a new journeyman call-by-name, that would undercut our book system.

Your committee from day 1 decided that this Local was not going to buy our own raises or negotiate away our members’ sick time.

Your IBEW negotiating committee values every member of our Local and fought hard for a fair contract, and we took our fight to CIR in West Virginia.

CIR (which stands for Council on Industrial Relations) hears grievances, interprets existing agreements, and arbitrates contract negotiations. We made our case to CIR for higher wages and a fair contract and CIR made the final determination.

I hope you will join me in thanking the fellow members of our 569 Inside Negotiation Committee for their service: Joe Heisler, Jose Martinez, David Saunders, Cory Hurley, Joe Page, and William Stedham.

Next week, we start negotiating the Street Light Contract, and then in January we’ll jump back into negotiating another new Inside Contract.

Here’s what we’re going to continue to fight for:

  • Higher wages and better benefits;
  • A tool list;
  • Penalties for late checks; and
  • A better-defined scope of work to protect our members and our contractors work.

The Committee will reconvene and strategize on new tactics and arguments to get a better contract.

Many of you have called and posted questions about our new Contract – here are some answers:

Regarding the allocation of funds between being on the check versus an amount toward health and welfare or our apprenticeship program –  unfortunately due to COVID and DIR time requirements, we are unable to meet within the mandated time frame.  Therefore, the entire raise will be going on the check.  On a good note, this is only a one year contract, so we can allocate a portion of the next raise to wherever and however members wish to allocate it.

Some of you are asking if the wage increase is retroactive – per CIR, the wage increase is effective August 31st.  Also, in the past, when the contract expires on May 31st, DIR doesn’t update prevailing wages until August – so we have historically scheduled the raises to kick-in in August when DIR updates their determinations – so everyone is on the same playing field – union and non-union.  

Some members have asked about Sick Days – while we were successful in preserving and protecting our sick days, NECA had wanted us to waive our members’ sick time –which is afforded to us by law – 3 days for the state of California and 5 days for the City of San Diego – unless it is bargained away. 

We heard you loud and clear – sick days are important and we are not negotiating them away – especially during a pandemic.

Our admin staff is working on updating the new contract and it will be online by end of next week.

I’ll end this video message with a call to action and solidarity. 

We need to be strong, engaged, and active in seeking higher wages and a fair contract.

As I mentioned earlier, we’re starting the street light negotiations now and then gearing right back up for the Inside Agreement.  New gear and swag will soon be available. #IBEW569NeedsAnotherRaise.  I guess we’re going to need bigger stickers.

Please stay engaged – watch your email and our social media for action alerts – and RIGHT NOW – make sure you’re registered to vote to help win more work for our members in the November Presidential Election.  

If you have any questions, please give us a call at the Hall at 858-569-8900. And please continue to stay safe!

In solidarity,

Jeremy Abrams

Your IBEW 569 Business Manager