We came very close to reaching an agreement on a new contract today. But management made that impossible by demanding that we choose between a lowball wage offer or healthcare cuts. As a result, we will be proceeding with a strike authorization vote on Wednesday and Thursday.
What happened in negotiations?
As a result of the united action taken by members in our weekly rallies, management finally showed a willingness to back off on job security issues.
The company agreed to drop its demands on Mutual Aid and No Layoff protections —but only if we accept less than we deserve in wages and benefits.
Management wants to force us into a benefits package that would:
- increase individual deductibles to $500 from $100
- increase family deductibles to $1,000 from $200
- increase the maximum out of pocket $3,000 from $1,500, and
- increase the family maximum out of pocket to $6,000 from $3,000.
On wages, the Union is proposing 15% over five years. Management is offering raises of 2%, 3%, 3%, 3%, 3% for a total of 14% over 5 years, but only if we take the reduced health and welfare benefits.
Or management will agree to keep our current healthcare plan if we will accept a 3-year contract with raises of 2.25%, 2.25%, 2.25% for a total of 6.75%.
Management refuses to put either offer in writing so that members have hard numbers in our contract so we know what we will be charged for our healthcare benefits.
Management’s proposals are disrespectful and inadequate.
Teamsters at Washington Gas deserve fair raises and fair healthcare. Right now, the company is offering neither. If you agree, we are asking you to Vote Yes in our strike authorization vote.
The strike authorization vote will be held on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday early morning at the stations.
A YES Vote does not mean that we are going on strike. If management makes a final offer, it will be presented to the membership for a vote before any strike action is taken.
We will meet again with management on Thursday morning with the results of the strike authorization vote in hand.
We will do everything in our power to reach a fair agreement without a strike. The best way to avoid a strike is to be prepared for one. Send management a message that we are united for a fair contract that protects our job security, wages and healthcare.