Friday, May 29, 2009

Tentative Agreements

This first tentative agreement will concern operations. It gives operators the ability to cancel "one day vacations" after the schedule has been formally posted. In order to cancel a one day, the individual covering the overtime will have to agree/concur to the cancellation. It is #12 in the unions proposal list. You can read the language on this agreement HERE.

Next is our the modification to the purchased vacation policy, which is #10 on the company's proposal list. They asked for the change because of an admin issue for the folks in Bartlesville. We agreed to replace purchasing a week of vacation with unpaid vacation. The days that you can take off remain the same. You can read this tentative agreement HERE. (NOTE: operators are given "up to" eight hours unpaid vacation if they have 4 or 8 hours vaction/holiday pay left over. That way the operator can take a full 12 hours off)

Company proposal #15 is next. We tentatively agreed to modify the banked holidays also. This too was a company item. Operators (and maintenance personnel that work on holidays) still retain the ability to take holiday's time off at a later date. The difference is, we will be paid holiday pay on the holiday. When we take our holiday time off at another date, it will be an unpaid day off. Again all money remains the same, the change is when the employee is paid for the holiday. The tentative agreement on this item is HERE.

We a changed the language as to when an individual in mechanical will be able to bid (Local proposal #20). That new tentative wording is HERE.

This next issue was brought up by the company (#20) and the union (#19) and it too is mechanical issue. The time it takes to move from 2nd Class to 1st Class craftworker has changed. That tentative agreement is HERE.

Next is exemption language for minimum training for operators working on operator training materials (Union #23). This tentative agreement is HERE.

The next item has to do with #3 on the union list of proposals. The tentative agreement is meant to clarify how operator staffing is to take place if part of a progression is in turnaround and other parts remain live. The PDF document on this tentative agreement is HERE.

We have a tentative agreement about overtime meals (company #22, union #22). Read about his HERE.

Next, company proposal #4, we have agreed to increase the probationary period from 90 days to 180 days. The company asked for a 1 year probation for newly hired operators (which a number of COP sites have). We believed that to be excessive, but did tentatively agree to increase it to 180 days. Wording on this item is HERE.

In union proposal #4, we have several items and we have reached a tentative agreement on one of the issues in the proposal. This tentative agreement deal with hourly employees who take a salary job. It is HERE.

I will add more to this list sometime this evening or tomorrow.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Update 28 May

Negotiations are still going somewhat smoothly. We have had a few issue that have been brought up and tabled, because things were getting bogged down, but we are still making headway and we did get a tentative agreement on a couple of more issues today.

It is our goal to get links to PDF's copies, of the items that have been "tentatively" agreed upon, on the net tomorrow or Saturday, so that our membership can look at each item. That way you will know what your committee is doing.

This is my first time to sit in on negotiations, and it is tedious work. We have five negotiating members on our side (Leon, R.C., Benny, James, and Neal) making our case. The company has Hutton, Geiger (Sp.?), Keating, Livingston, Stoll, and Sumner on their side of the table.

Let me give an example of how this works. Let's say we discuss a proposal from our side, we explain what we want to happen with our proposal, then discuss it with the company in some depth. After clarification and counter clarifications, the company's negotiators will leave the room to discuss the proposal among themselves. After a while they return with their counter proposal, more discussion for clarification and then it is time for our team will leave the room to confer with one another about the companies points. After a good discussion we return and give our position, etc... It is often slow and tedious work.

Thus far, we have signed tentative agreements on 17 of the combined 49 items that the union and company have brought to the table.

The items tentatively agreed to from the company side are numbers 10, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22. The company has agreed to drop item 7 from their list.

On the union side, we have tentative agreements on 3, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25.

With any luck, we will get the tentative agreement up loaded on to the web tomorrow or Saturday. This blog will have links to the each of the agreements, so check back this weekend for those items.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday and Wednesday Negotiations

We spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday hammering out lab issues. A tentative agreement was reached this afternoon on the lab issues, so tomorrow we can move on to other things.

I hope to have more details to tell you tomorrow.


Friday, May 22, 2009

A Letter from Leon

As most of you are aware, there is a very serious situation pertaining to contract negotiations for our brothers and sisters at the Ponca City Refinery. Our fellow union members in Ponca City have been working in a "rolling 24" situation since March 31st of this year when their current contract was due to expire. Although meetings do continue on a sporadic basis, with the assistance of a Federal Mediator, there does not seem to be any progress being made between the company and union negotiators.

There are two very serious issues all union members should be concerned with on the table in Ponca City.

1. Fatigue Policy-the company is insisting on language giving them the right to implement a fatigue policy during the contract without the union having the right to strike. This issue was on the table at all ConocoPhillips sites, which were on date for February 1st. The company had removed this issue from the table when it appeared it would be handled as a NOBP item. This failed to happen so it has popped up at Ponca. The company has known since the BP Amaco explosion in Texas City, that fatigue would someday be an issue (fatigue on the part of the operators due to working an extended period of time was cited by the Baker Panel as a cause of the explosion). ConocoPhillips has had, since 2005, time to write their fatigue policy and be ready for negotiations. Their failure to do so should not lead to midterm implementation.

2. Direct Hire for Maintenance-I don't know the details of the proposal for this issue. What I do know is that any language changed on how you hire to staff positions should be looked at very carefully. Any changes in this area could lead to changes on language affecting how employees would move in the event of cutbacks or layoffs. That makes this a VERY SERIOUS issue. While our negotiations here in Lake Charles are going well at this early date the company does have proposals much like this on their list here.

Due to this serious situation, we will be informing the company next week to be prepared to increase our dues. As you should remember, after the contract negotiations in 2002, the sites belonging to the CONOCOPHILLIPS NATION WIDE COUNCIL voted to have a fifty-dollar strike assessment to support any of our groups involved in a work stoppage. We invoked this once for a site on strike against Penrico (a ConocoPhillips joint venture) following the 2006 contract extensions.

While we certainly hope the company will begin meaningful negotiations with the group in Ponca City, and any strike by our brothers and sisters can be avoided, we wanted to take this opportunity to keep you informed of the steps we are taking should our members have to strike.

As you should know, what happens at one site often moves to the others. I encourage all of you to stand strong in support of Ponca as they are very likely fighting our fight.

Leon Royer

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Friday 21 May

Yesterday, we spent much of the day discussing items banked holidays and purchased vacation. We have a tentative agreements on this items. We are planning special meetings to discuss these items with the members in the near future.

Today, we spent today at the hall going over items, working on lab issues, and getting ready for next weeks discussions.

Here is a link to the initial lists given by us (here) and by the company (here). I hope you will go over both proposals and let us know what you think.

I highly recommend all our people read this article from the Ponca blog. Our brothers and sisters at Ponca still do not have a contract, so please continue to keep them in prayer.

More later,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Negotiations Today

I sent out an email discussing today's negotiations. Several "tentative" items were agreed to and signed off on today. We still have a long way to go, but we did make good headway today.

Tomorrow, we hope to start posting specific items, such as the company's list and our list of issues we want to discuss. We also plan to post the "tentative" agreements that we settle on. That way everyone can be familiar with what is happening, so that we can discuss them intelligently and make informed decisions.

Check back soon.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Local Negotiations Have Started

Hey Folks,

Your negotiating committee met with the company today. We exchanged lists of items that each side would like to see come out of these negotiations. After the exchange, the company briefly went through the items on their list, giving a short explanation of each point. When they were finished, we did the same with the items on our list.

There were a number of points where the company and the union have similar interest, so these items should be easy to take care of. Other issues on the two lists have been mostly hammered out in the discussions that have already taken place, and we hope to put them to rest tomorrow. Of course, there are also some issues that may be more difficult to deal with to settle, so keep your representatives in your prayer.

I will try to send out briefs often and I will be providing greater detail when that is possible.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tonight's Meeting

We had an interesting meeting tonight.

We learned that Ponca is still on rolling 24's. They still have a number of critical issues that they are negotiating with the company. Fatigue policy is one issue that they are struggling with, as well as operator mandatory call. We need to keep these union brothers and sisters in our prayers.

Our representatives have been discussing issues with the company for some time, now it is time to start official negotiations with the company. This begins on Monday May 18.

Our representatives want to keep our members informed about what is happening, so new posts here should will become much more frequent. You will be getting more emails also. Your union leadership knows how imporant it is for our members to be well informed, and we plan to do just that.

I now ask all of you to all the members of our negotiation team in your prayers. Ask the LORD that they will be given wisdom and courage to do what is best for all of us. Pray for the company represntatives as well, that they too will do what is right.