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Published On: Sat, Nov 3rd, 2012

Union rules playing a role in the relief effort for Hurricane Sandy

A New Jersey power company denied Friday that it is turning away nonunion volunteer crews who want to travel great distances to help reconnect power supplies severed by Hurricane Sandy. But an Alabama utility is clarifying that it was the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers [IBEW] — not the company — that turned them away.

And a Central Florida utility worker told The Daily Caller that he and his crewmates are still waiting for the union to back down before they could go to Long Island.

WAFF-TV of Hunstville, AL reports:

Crews from Huntsville, as well as Decatur Utilities and Joe Wheeler out of Trinity headed up there this week, but Derrick Moore, one of the Decatur workers, said they were told by crews in New Jersey that they can’t do any work there since they’re not union employees….

Understandably, Moore said they’re frustrated being told “thanks, but no thanks.”

Hurricane Sandy aftermath, tree down, power out photo Tomwsulcer

Decatur Utilities later released a statement expanding on that, “Upon arriving at a staging area in Virginia, crews were held in place pending clarification of documents received from IBEW that implied a requirement of our employees to agree to union affiliation while working in the New York and New Jersey areas. It was and remains our understanding that agreeing to those requirements was a condition of being allowed to work in those areas.”

“At this stage, it is not clear who is alleged to have turned the crew away and the company that employs the affected workers has denied the claim,” said IBEW President Ed Hill in a statement. “IBEW local leaders in New Jersey have reiterated what has been the long standing record of our union – in times of crisis all help is welcome and we pull together with everyone to meet the needs of the public. We have communicated this to the office of New Jersey Governor Christie as well.”

A Central Florida utility lineman who insisted on remaining anonymous told TheDC in a phone interview Friday that his 12-person crew waited ”all day yesterday” for their bosses to sort through the IBEW’s demands.

“It was like, ‘What’s the hold up?’ he said. “It turns out there was a 300-page contract that the union controlling LIPA [the Long Island Power Authority] wanted everybody to sign first. We don’t have time for that. We’ve got guys ready to go. You need lawyers for this.”

 

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Dale Marshall says:

    What a shameful, irresponsible job of reporting. If non-union work crews were being turned away from Sandy relief efforts, how come only ONE crew actually returned home?

    Another paper has an article that traces the union contract to an Alabama company:

    Late Friday at a press conference, Hardin said the documents actually came from Electric Cities of Alabama, a coalition of the state’s municipally owned utilities.

    Bottom line, it appears now that Decatur Utilities wrongly assumed they would have to agree to the union contract before traveling to New Jersey to help with recovery efforts. The IBEW said in times of crisis, help is welcomed from union and non-union utility workers.
    (http://www.waff.com/story/19981857/some-nonunion-ala-crews-turned-away-from-sandy-recovery)

    Why someone would try to confuse the workers from Alabama is anyone’s guess, but judging by the way so many have so gleefully used this disaster to promote their anti-union agenda, when thousands of union and non-union workers are fighting side by side to help communities devastated by the hurricane, it would appear that some people are more concerned with promoting their political and social agendas than they are in helping even the most sorely in need. Shame on them.

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