Union strikes Midwest’s Illinois power plants


    By the OGJ Online Staff

    HOUSTON, June 28, 2001 à‚– Independent power generator Midwest Generation, Chicago, Thursday said its 12 plants in Illinois continue to run and supply power to Commonwealth Edison Co. after union employees struck over work rules and pay issues.

    Management and supervisory personnel are running the plant, Midwest said. Contract talks ended late Wednesday with Local 15 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), representing more than 1,100 employees at Midwest Generation’s facilities in Illinois, without substantial progress on a new collective bargaining agreement. No new talks are scheduled, Midwest said.

    Chicago-based Midwest Generation purchased 12 fossil-fuel generating facilities from ComEd, a unit of Exelon Corp., Chicago, in December 1999. Midwest is a unit of Edison International, Rosemead, Calif.

    Midwest Generation Pres. Georgia Nelson said the dispute centers on the union’s insistence on new contract language that would penalize the company for using contractors from other unions to perform duties the company considers outside the scope of work performed by Local 15.

    Nelson said the company has proposed no changes to existing contract language relating to the use of contractors and is not proposing to reduce union jobs. She noted that Midwest Generation has hired an additional 150 Local 15 members since acquiring the plants.

    Under terms of one of two Midwest Generation offers made over the past 2 weeks, Nelson said, workers would be given a 30-month contract providing for a pay increase of up to 9% in the first year, including a base wage hike and an incentive pay plan.

    As an alternative, she said the company offered to leave all provisions of the existing contract in effect through the end of 2002, with a first year base wage increase of 4% and an opportunity to earn an additional 4% based on company performance.

    Nelson said employee benefits are not at issue in the negotiations, as they remain in effect until mid-2002 under a prior agreement between the union and Midwest Generation.

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