Under a new three-year agreement with Hitachi Energy ratified in July, members of UE Local 1009 will see wage increases of four percent each year and significant increases to their travel reimbursements — an important issue for Local 1009 members, most of whom are transformer technicians who do servicing work all over the country.
The new contract increases the daily amount they receive for meals while traveling from $59 to $69, unless they are in Alaska, Hawaii or New York, where they will receive $79. Per diem reimbursement will increase from $225 to $255.
The new contract also replaces a monthly allowance for tools and safety shoes with a requirement that the company purchase tools from a list that union members will compile, to stock all work vans. Safety shoes will now be covered by a separate $400 per year allowance.
In a separate memorandum of understanding, the company committed to provide ten paid sick days through the end of 2024 for any worker who tests positive for COVID-19 — and to pay for their food and lodging should their need to quarantine strand them away from home while on a work assignment.
“Among other good things achieved, our wage increase was the most I've ever seen in my 34 years in the UE,” said Local 1009 President Larry Leafstone. “It shows that even though we are small in numbers, together, united we fought for and achieved nothing short of what we expected and deserved.”
The negotiating committee consisted of President Leafstone, Lou Alcorn and Mitch Alcorn. They were assisted by Western Region President Bryan Martindale and Field Organizer Fernando Ramirez.