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Teamsters Union and pipeline contractors agree to extension


FEBRUARY 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Teamsters Union and pipeline contractors agree to extension


REGION, February 1st- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union went on strike against and the Pipe Line Contractors Association (PLCA), and the workers returned to their jobs without reaching a new pact but the sides did agree to a three-month contract extension of the previous agreement.

According to Craig Pawlik, Secretary/Treasurer and Principal Officer of IBT Local 229 in Scranton, which had members working on the Appalachian Pipeline Contractors site near Tunkhannock and Otis Eastern Services site near Towanda, which was involved in the work stoppage, the main reason the IBT called the strike was because the group of contractors affiliated with the Pipe Line Contractors Association wanted to make major changes to their members pension plan. He told the newspaper there are approximately 70 pipeline construction companies affiliated with the PLCA.

The PLCA initial contract proposal was to withdraw from the IBT Central States pension plan, decrease Teamsters jurisdiction and the removal of classifications that would have reduced the number of their member jobs by 30 percent.

The PLCA offered to start a new defined benefit plan similar to the one that already exists with other union’s that the group has labor agreements with. In short, the PLCA proposal would do away with the IBT pension and substitute it with a 401(k) plan.

The PLCA also has labor agreements with the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), the United Association of Pipefitters and Plumbers (UA), and the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA).

The IBT members, which operate dump trucks and other vehicles that haul pipes and other materials to pipeline construction sites, went on strike on January 1st, 2012. However, the IBT did not call a national strike instead conducted a “selective work stoppage” that involved the local pipelines several weeks later.

There were around 26 members of the IBT involved in the local dispute including Local 229 members and IBT Local 401 members in Wilkes-Barre.

James Murphy, President and Business Representative of Local 401 told the newspaper the two unions shared the jurisdiction of the pipeline construction that were involved in the strike.

The IBT members returned to their jobs on January 13th following an agreement between the PLCA and the union after the two sides agreed to extend the previous labor agreement for three months. The previous contract expired on January 31st, 2011. The two parties agreed to extend the pact two other times. The full term of the recent extension will run from November 15th, 2011 to April 13th, 2012.

Pat Connors, Secretary/Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 401, stated he was greatly disappointed with several local union officials for instructing their members to cross the IBT picket line at the Tunkhannock pipeline work site.

Mr. Connors told the newspaper the Business Manager of Local 542 admitted to Mr. Murphy at the strike site that he told his members to cross the Teamsters picket line and do their bargaining unit work.

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