Dear Dominion Transmission/Dominion Hope Local 69-represented Employee:
Since July 15, 2016, we have been unable to reach an agreement with Local 69 on the Company’s proposals (Alternatives A and B) for a new collective bargaining agreement. As a result, Local 69-represented employees will be locked out beginning Wednesday, September 7, 2016, at 12:01 AM. This means you will not be permitted to work after that time until further notice.
The Company is locking out Local 69 employees because of Local 69’s refusal to accept any of the Company’s offers or honor its obligations under the August 26, 2016 tentative agreement. That tentative agreement, which the Union reneged on, consisted of the Company’s Alternative A proposal, plus enhancements that included financial incentives the Company previously offered to Local 69 back in June in exchange for a neutral recommendation on the Company proposals the membership voted down. It also included a promise that Local 69 “agrees to recommend a favorable vote on the mutual agreement arrived at by the Negotiating Committees.” On August 31, 2016, however, Local 69 informed us that it would not take the tentative agreement out for a ratification vote.
The Company has told the Union from the beginning of negotiations that any agreement would have to include the new hire proposals. These proposals are fair and consistent with what other employers are offering in today's marketplace. These new hire provisions already apply to all of the non-union employees across Dominion. A majority of the 3,100 Dominion Virginia Power employees who are represented by IBEW Local 50 recently voted to accept these same proposals in a labor agreement almost identical to the proposals that the Company offered to Local 69 months ago. We have had long and mutually beneficial collective-bargaining relationships with both Local 69 and Local 50. Unfortunately, the Local 69’s unreasonable position has left the Company with no option other than the lockout to persuade the Union to change its position and agree to a new contract.
Under the lockout, Local 69-represented DTI and Hope employees will not be allowed to work. If the Union ratifies or otherwise accepts as a contract any of the Company’s offers - Alternative A or Alternative B or the tentative agreement reached on August 26, 2016 (Alternative A with enhancements) - the Company will end the lockout and you will be able to return to work. During the lockout, the Company will continue to operate using temporary replacements capable of operating its system until regular employees return after the lockout.
We regret that this action is necessary but we cannot operate indefinitely without the stability of a labor contract and under the constant threat of a strike at any time with no notice. However, faced with the possibility of a strike now or in the winter months at our busiest season, we must act to ensure continued safe and uninterrupted service to the public and our customers. We have a duty to serve our customers and the public, and we will not jeopardize safe and reliable service to our customers and the public who rely on us.
We understand that you will have questions in the days ahead about your benefits during the lockout, the status of negotiations, when you can return to work, etc. The Company has established a website https:\\drs.dom.com\dti_hope_labor_negoti where you can get negotiations updates. It will also have a link where you can submit questions and responses will be posted. Further, you should also consult with your Union if you have questions about any of their positions.
During the lockout, the Company will not tolerate any violence or destruction toward Company employees, equipment, replacement workers, contractors or their property. All such acts will be immediately investigated and appropriate action taken, including referral for potential criminal prosecution by state or federal law enforcement. This may involve the FBI and the US Office of Homeland Security for incidents affecting the Company’s physical or cyber assets that are part of the country’s critical energy infrastructure.
When the lockout ends, we will notify the Union and you of the date and time you can return to work. We will also post that information generally on our website. Please keep your contact information up to date.
We have come to this decision only after careful thought and with great reluctance. We thank you for your dedicated service and look forward to your return. As always, be safe.
Brian C. Sheppard
Vice President—Pipeline Operations
Jeffrey A. Murphy
Vice President & General Manager
cc. Craig Bradford --President, UGWU Local 69
The Union and the Company have agreed to hold a bargaining session on Thursday September 8th. The parties have also agreed to incorporate the services of the Federal Mediator and he is scheduled to attend.
As most of you are noticing the Company seems to be taking steps to lock the Union out which could occur at any moment. The Company has expressed concerns to the Union about the potential of a Strike we have made it clear that we do not intend to strike in the near future. We have even offered to the Company an agreement to not strike while we are still negotiating if they will not Lock out the Union.
This was done as a good faith effort to help reach an agreement. I want the membership to fully understand if a work stoppage occurs it will be in the form of an unjust lockout implemented by the Company not by the Union. If a work stoppage occurs it will clearly be on the Company's hands and is not necessary but done as a vindictive act.
Continue to go to work until notified. We stand together. PROUD TO BE UNION PROUD OF MY UNION.
We are getting many reports and updates throughout our system of facility's being chained and locked. The Union has not been officially notified of any lockout but it seems it is occurring. Employees should attempt to work as scheduled tomorrow or tonight and if not allowed to work contact your Steward, Director or Officer for instructions as to what they need to do. Stand strong and stay informed..