It is 19 days and counting since the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 876 began their contract strike at Alger Delta Electric. According to union members, they are asking for a â??mild increase in wagesâ?? and stricter safety practices.
According to Alger Delta, in 2013 they received a Safety Accreditation sponsored by federal safety agencies, trade associations and insurance companies. Officials said this accreditation is achieved by meeting or exceeding standards relating to safety, work methods, employee training and more.
The unionâ??s main safety concern is allowing apprentices to do meter changes without a journeyman present. Alger Delta CEO Tom Harrell said this is a "basic, entry level task" that can be "safely accomplished by a competent first year apprentice."
However, in hopes of ending the strike, Harrell agreed to no longer send apprentices out alone. The union disagrees.
â??It was proposed to us that theyâ??d like to have the apprentices work by themselves,â?? said IBEW Local 876 assistant business manager, Chad Clark. â??Itâ??s a safety issue, theyâ??re not qualified to work alone.â??
Both parties are expected to meet this week for more contract negotiations.