Members of Springfield, Ill., Local 51 in Bartonsville have operated and maintained the Edwards coal-fired power plant for generations, all through the national debate over the role that coal will play in our nation’s energy future.
Seeking to reduce unhealthy emissions, Dynegy, owners of the station located south of Peoria, utilizes Clean Coal Solutions. The Colorado-based company uses a proprietary process to reduce mercury and nitrous oxide emissions by refining coal headed into bunkers to be burned. Local 51’s operations and maintenance members worked alongside Clean Coal Solution’s crew of eight.
Madison, Wis., Local 965 and Kansas City, Mo., Local 53 have negotiated contracts covering Clean Coal Solutions workers at two power plants. But the company’s crew at Edwards was not represented by a union. So, seeking greater job security, wages and benefits, workers signed authorization cards for Local 51.
In August, a representation election was held and the workers voted 8 to 0 for a voice on the job with the IBEW.
Members of Springfield, Ill., Local 51 who maintain and operate Dynegy power plants encouraged workers at Clean Coal Solutions to vote for a voice on the job with IBEW.
“Clean Coal Solutions has been a good company to work with,” says Local 51 Assistant Business Manager John Johnson.
Robert Stuart, business manager of Local 53, said his local negotiated a five-year agreement with the company in 2011 providing for healthy wage increases each year.
“When Clean Coal Solutions first arrived at an IBEW-represented power plant in Southwest Missouri, we took the position that contractors working full time on the premises should be organized. Clean Coal Solutions had no real experience with unions, but didn’t stand in our way,” says Local 53 Business Agent Dexter Drerup. Since negotiating an agreement, says Drerup, “We generally work out almost all problems before they become grievances.”
Johnson says a good first contract has been negotiated covering workers at Edwards power plant and, after winning an NLRB representation election with the Operating Engineers by an 8-0 vote, a new Local 51 unit has been formed at another Dynegy power plant in Baldwin, Ill., southeast of St. Louis.
More units could follow. Dynegy has a fleet of over 35 power plants nationally. While some may be shut down as a result of falling natural gas prices and increasing regulations, says Johnson, many will continue to run and are likely to turn to Clean Coal Solutions or other companies to reduce carbon-based emissions.