Plant workers vote to extend contract to 2011

A guaranteed 3.1 percent pay raise is fine with Tri-State Generation and Transmission's union employees.

They voted last week to extend their contract through 2011. Of the union's 330 members, 56 percent voted. A majority, 73 percent, said they were satisfied with the contract.

"I think most think it's a fair and equitable proposal by the company," said George Wilson, the local representative for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 111.

Wilson said he fielded fewer questions about this contract than any other he's negotiated.

"I think the vote speaks for itself," he said.

It was set to expire in 2008.

At the Craig Station Power Plant, about 220 of the nearly 300 employees are union members.

Workers signed the contract in 2000, which guaranteed annual pay increases of between 3.25 percent and 4 percent. That contract expired in 2005, but union workers voted in 2004 to extend it.

The union includes Tri-State workers at power plants in Rifle and Nucla.

Robert Parrish, a union member at the plant in Rifle, opposed the contract extension. He said he's disappointed in the outcome and even more disappointed in the turnout.

"As important as it was, I was optimistic that more people would have voted," he said.

Parrish said he thinks union members deserve a higher allowance for cost of living increases than the current contract calls for.

The cost of living increase should be equal to the federal standard, which is 4.1 percent, he said.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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