WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - Pepco is bracing for the shock of an employee strike after the union representing the electric company’s employees shot down its contract offer Wednesday.
Employees turned out in record numbers at seven locations around the area to cast their ballots for the latest contract proposal, with more than 1,000 members of the International ‘Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1900’ rejecting it by about five to one. There are 1,100 members in total.
Pepco spokeswoman Myra Oppel says it was a fair offer.
“We had offered for them to be retroactive back to June 4,” Oppel offered. “That offer expires at the end of the day today and that was more than a million dollars on the table with an average of about a thousand dollars per employee.”
But union president James A. Griffin disagreed in a message to members, calling the contract “the worst proposal this local has faced in its entire history.”
Representatives released a response to the offer following the resounding vote of disapproval Wednesday evening on Local 1900’s website:
“After a historic total vote, Local 1900′s Pepco members made it clear. They saw through Pepco’s attempt to “buy” a deficient contract offer. They weren’t impressed by Pepco’s threat to withhold retroactive pay.
We will continue to work hard for a fair contract.
Stay strong and united.”
All this came after Pepco received approval from the D.C. Public Service Commission to raise rates, bringing the average residential bill in the city up by about $2.60 – a move D.C. Council member Mary Cheh marked her own disapproval for.
I just believe they are lap dogs for Pepco,” Cheh said. “They really missed an opportunity to improve Pepco’s reliability.”
Pepco is ready for any future work stoppage but representatives still think a strike is further away than their next contract agreement.