Delmarva Power to Maintain Service if Union Strikes
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Non-Union Employees to be Supplemented with Contractors
WILMINGTON , Del. – Delmarva Power today assured customers it will maintain safe and reliable electric and natural gas service, regardless of Local 1238’s rejection of the company’s contract offer, its recent decision to cancel the existing contract and its threat to strike. The company is prepared with the necessary people and plans to respond to emergencies and to continue to operate the business.
“Customers depend upon us to provide energy for their homes and businesses. So, as a reasonable measure, we have prepared in advance for the possibility that we would need to continue operations with just a portion of our normal workforce,” said Gary Stockbridge, President, Delmarva Power Region.
During a union work stoppage, operations would continue with non-union employees and contractors. Delmarva Power will continue to staff its call centers and respond to typical billing and service calls as well as emergencies such as electric system outages and gas leaks. We encourage customers to call our normal contact numbers.
“We recognize there could be inconvenience for some customers and we ask for understanding and patience while we work through this period,” Stockbridge said. “Customers should, nevertheless, be assured that we will maintain safe and reliable service.”
The parties have been working under a contract that was scheduled to expire Feb. 1 but was extended indefinitely subject to cancellation upon 72 hours notice. On Tuesday, June 15, the union notified the company that it plans to cancel the contract effective noon, Friday, June 18. Upon cancellation of the contract, the union could choose to strike or continue to work without an agreement.
“We’ve been negotiating with the Union for months and have made fair and responsible offers that were rejected,” Stockbridge said. “We want to emphasize that Delmarva Power is committed to working toward an agreement that is fair and responsible for our customers, our employees and our shareholders. We believe we can resolve our differences with Local 1238 and avoid a work stoppage, but we are prepared for any eventuality.”
The primary issues are pension benefits, where the proposed changes do not impact the majority of existing union members. The company is not proposing any changes in the level of medical benefits or job security for existing employees.
The union represents more than 760 members of Local 1238 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. It includes employees who work in northern Delaware, northeastern Maryland, and in Carneys Point, New Jersey.
Delmarva Power, a public utility owned by Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), provides safe and reliable energy to nearly 498,000 electric delivery customers in Delaware and Maryland and over 123,000 natural gas delivery customers in northern Delaware.