AFL-CIO: Pepco Union Faults Short-Staffing for Long Outages

Report by Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO assistant mobilizer Julia Kann of Union City.

Short-staffing at Pepco is as much to blame for the recent power outages as Mother Nature, according to the union that represents more than 1,000 Pepco workers.

“We’ve been complaining for years that staffing levels are too low,” Electrical Workers (IBEWLocal 1900President Jim Griffin says.

Griffin testified Friday at the Council of the District of Columbia following a series of power outages that left more than 1 million area residents without power for as long as a week.

Griffin said:

“Staffing, especially of linesmen, is half of what it was 20 years ago. These are the folks that are vital to keeping the lights on, and we’ve just been decimated.”

Contract workers also have been a problem, Griffin said, noting that “they’re here today and gone tomorrow, leaving us to pick up the pieces.”

Local 1900 is in contract negotiations with Pepco. The current contract was set to expire May 31 but has been extended through midnight on July 29.

Read this blog post at AFL-CIO now.

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