PSEG LI contract includes no-layoff clause

A PSEG Long Island truck in Hicksville in A PSEG Long Island truck in Hicksville in 2013. Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

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Unionized workers for PSEG Long Island, whose leaders recently negotiated a new 21-month contract, won a second important concession in addition to raises starting next year: an expanded no-layoff clause.

Under the tentative pact reached on Tuesday, all existing 1,400 unionized PSEG Long Island workers would be protected by the clause, which previously applied to workers hired before 2011, according to the union. The new clause would apply to unionized workers hired before 2015, said Don Daley, business manager of Local 1049 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which negotiated the pact.

The language in the clause is straightforward, he said.

"It says you really can't lay anybody off," Daley said. PSEG would be able to reduce the workforce through attrition, but the company would have to find work for unionized workers seeking to stay at the company if it decides to reduce the force in a specific area.

The new contract, which still requires ratification by union members, provides for a 2 percent increase in base wages next Feb. 14, followed by a 2.25 percent increase the following year. Workers also would receive a $500 bonus on Feb. 1, 2015.

Daley said the contract won the unanimous approval of the union's executive board and is expected to be approved. The workers, who include electrical system repair and construction workers, meter readers and office staff, were largely inherited by PSEG from National Grid, which formerly operated the LIPA system. PSEG Long Island took over in January.

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PSEG has said the new contract, which replaces one set to expire next Feb. 13, provides needed "stability" as it works to increase LIPA's poor customer satisfaction ratings to best-in-class rankings. The new contract would remain in place through Nov. 12, 2016. PSEG has promised not to raise customers' delivery charges through the end of 2015.

In an unrelated development, PSEG Long Island is expected to next month appoint Christopher Hahn, a Democratic former chief deputy Nassau County executive and former LIPA trustee, to be its director of government relations. The frequent Fox News commentator did not respond to requests for comment at his home or current employer, Tonio Burgos & Associates, a Manhattan lobbying firm.

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