Towers carrying PSEG Long Island transmission lines shown in 2016.

Towers carrying PSEG Long Island transmission lines shown in 2016. Credit: Greentree Foundation./John Paraskevas

As the future of the Long Island Power Authority is reviewed by a state legislative commission examining whether it should be a fully public utility, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1049 advocates for our members’ rights and for transparent decision-making. We have thoroughly examined the issues and concluded that transitioning LIPA employees to state workers insufficiently protects our benefits and pensions. We strongly oppose LIPA becoming a fully municipalized public utility.

Our highly trained IBEW members are part of the Long Island community, working tirelessly 24/7 to maintain reliable electric service across the region. We urge the LIPA Commission members to make it their top priority to protect our members’ jobs, benefits, collective bargaining rights, and continued quality service.

Municipalization is a grave threat to our members’ livelihoods. It would likely mean the loss of private sector employee status and would make us state workers with far fewer protections and subject our members to weak state labor laws. At the five public hearings to be held this month, we ask that the public stand united with us against municipalization that would severely reduce our members’ hard-earned benefits and legal protections.

IBEW Local 1049 members are wholeheartedly committed to delivering prompt, reliable, high-quality electric service to families and businesses across Long Island and the Rockaways. We firmly believe this vital service is best provided through the current public-private partnership model. Transitioning to an elected LIPA board under municipalization could seriously hinder and negatively impact our ability to serve the community.

We strongly encourage Long Island residents, businesses, and families to join forces with IBEW 1049 to stop the risks of municipalization. Long Island’s experienced utility employees deserve to have their needs and concerns made a top priority. For years, their technical skills and brave dedication before, during and after dangerous storms spanning long hours have kept the power flowing across Long Island. Their service merits appreciation and protection, not uncertainty.

The wise path forward is open communication and collaboration between all stakeholders, not risky municipalization. Our community workers and families deserve nothing less. We would only support transitioning to an appointed LIPA board with local representation, such as appointments made by the Nassau and Suffolk county executives and the Queens borough president.

Full municipalization irresponsibly endangers the livelihoods of our entire IBEW 1049 membership. As ratepayers themselves, our workers cannot afford the very real risk of rising energy costs negatively affecting family budgets. Today and moving forward, the needs and concerns of Long Island’s working families must take center stage. Clearly, LIPA municipalization places their financial security, safety, and well-being at unacceptable risk.

The expertise and courage under pressure demonstrated time and again by IBEW 1049 members warrants praise and reward, not dismissal. But misguided municipalization plans directly threaten their futures and their continued ability to provide quality service.

After thoroughly examining all facets of this issue, we have concluded that changing LIPA workers to state employees will not sufficiently safeguard the hard-earned benefits and pensions of our members built over decades of service. Therefore, we stand together against any attempts to transform LIPA into a fully municipal utility.


 THIS GUEST ESSAY reflects the views of Pat Guidice, business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1049.

This guest essay reflects the views of Pat Guidice, business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1049.


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