A Decatur Utilities crew left Alabama to help with storm recovery in New Jersey, but did not make the trip because of what they are now calling confusion over union paperwork.
The six-man crew staged in Virginia, but Decatur Utilities said they were never able to get in touch with officials or utility companies in New York or New Jersey. While the crew stood down in Virginia, Decatur Utilities officials claimed they received a union contract they thought they would have to agree to before helping storm victims.
General Manager Ray Hardin appeared on Fox Business Channel Friday morning saying, "We were presented documents from IBEW that required our folks to affiliate with the unions and that was something we could not agree to."
Decatur Utilities later released a statement expanding on that, "Upon arriving at a staging area in Virginia, crews were held in place pending clarification of documents received from IBEW that implied a requirement of our employees to agree to union affiliation while working in the New York and New Jersey areas. It was and remains our understanding that agreeing to those requirements was a condition of being allowed to work in those areas."
Late Friday at a press conference, Hardin said the documents actually came from Electric Cities of Alabama, a coalition of the state's municipally owned utilities.
Bottom line, it appears now that Decatur Utilities wrongly assumed they would have to agree to the union contract before traveling to New Jersey to help with recovery efforts. The IBEW said in times of crisis, help is welcomed from union and non-union utility workers.
Hardin said as they waited for confirmation on the documents, crews received word that Seaside Heights had received the assistance they needed from other sources.
"At this stage, it is not clear who is alleged to have turned the crew away and the company that employs the affected workers has denied the claim," said IBEW President Ed Hill in a statement. "IBEW local leaders in New Jersey have reiterated what has been the long standing record of our union – in times of crisis all help is welcome and we pull together with everyone to meet the needs of the public. We have communicated this to the office of New Jersey Governor Christie as well."
The crew from Decatur Utilities attempted to look for work in other areas, but Hardin said based on the uncertainty of other union requirements, they made the decision to return home after being stalled in Virginia most of the day Thursday.
Other utility crews from Alabama are still helping with storm cleanup. Huntsville Utilities said they were not turned away and are in Long Island, New York. Joe Wheeler EMC said they did not respond to New Jersey, but did travel to Maryland and headed home once they were finished.
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
31 people are in trouble with the law after a three day prostitution sting in Richmond. Police told NBC12 they targeted specific areas where residents and business owners complained about the illegal activity.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 1:09 PM EDT2014-04-17 17:09:44 GMT
Donna McLendon took 20 pills in an attempt to end her life. She said she could no longer deal with the pain and rage of being sexually molested beginning at age 9. After Donna swallowed her pills she becameMore >>
It all came to a head for Donna McLendon, in mid-February, after an all-consuming rage took over after years of childhood trauma that started when Donna was just 9-years-old.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:18 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:18:08 GMT
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Police say a man upset about the end of his relationship chased his ex-girlfriend's car and threw a wrench through a window. An arrest warrant says on April 9 Sebastian Lee James,More >>
According to an arrest warrant, Sebastian Lee James, Sr. was upset about the end of the relationship.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 2:00 PM EDT2014-04-17 18:00:21 GMT
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Louisville Metro police arrested a woman on domestic violence charges after the victim said she used a hammer and a shovel to hit him. Officers were called to the 3300 block ofMore >>
Louisville Metro police said the man may have a broken arm.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:42 AM EDT2014-04-17 15:42:53 GMT
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A Louisville woman is facing a number of charges after she broke into an apartment and cut a person while looking for alcohol. Louisville Metro police arrested Crystal R. Noble,More >>
According to LMPD, alcohol was the reason Crystal Noble got into an altercation with another person that left to the cutting. More >>
725 S. Floyd Street
Louisville, KY 40203