Victory at Linden Co-Gen Plant for IBEW Local 94
IBEW Local 94 wins organizing victory in the Co-Generation plant in Linden, New Jersey
International Brotherhood of Electrical Worker (IBEW) Local 94 was contacted by three different members of the Co-Generation plant, in Linden, New Jersey. The Co-Gen plant is owned by Public Service Enterprise Group Inc (PSEG) which is based in Newark, N.J. The two-unit plant is a natural gas-fired combined-cycle plant. There was no active organizing drive going on at the time. The plant had been operating for 26 years non-union, with most of the workforce never having worked in a union environment before.
The first thing that the local did was rent a hall that was close to the plant itself. Local 94 then invited all of the workers at the plant to come and ask them any questions that they might have. All of 94’s officers were present at the meetings, making time in their busy schedule to show a united team. At the first meeting, 30 of the 39 employees at the plant showed up to the rental hall and asked questions about the process. Not having a union background, these workers did not know about the benefits of being organized.
Local 94 went on to hold 5 more meetings between October and December of 2016 and were able to tell the employees about the IBEW’s history, and everything that being union could do for them. They filed for an election with the Nation Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on January 6, 2017. By the next week, they were holding the vote. In the end, the election came down to one vote and that vote was for the union.
Negotiations for the new contract began in February of this year. Two men from the plant were present at every negotiations session. Even though negotiations can be costly, between payroll and lawyers, the other 4,600 members of Local 94 approved of the organizing drive. In November, the put their first contract to a vote. It was overwhelming ratified, with 90% of the employees ratifying the contract. A far step forward from only winning a union National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) certification vote by one. This goes to show how education and hard work can pay off.
Throughout the negotiation process, there was a level of constant communication. UCOMM built them an organizing specific website made just for the Cogen plant employees. They received constant emails updating them with what was going on in the process. The communications even informed them when the company was playing hardball. They also received text messages for urgent information. This kept the members informed every step of the way and took away the company’s ability to lie and spread fear. UCOMM was happy to help.
Congratulations to all of the new IBEW Local 94 members.