Tri-State union set to vote about contract |

Tri-State union set to vote about contract

Union employees of Tri-State Generation and Transmission will vote this week whether to extend their contract with the company through 2011.

If the union members reject the extension, the contract will expire in 2008.

Tri-State union members are part of the International Broth–erhood of Electrical Workers Local 111.

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

In 2000, workers signed the contract, which guaranteed annual pay increases of between 3.25 percent and 4 percent. Before the contract expired in 2005, union members voted to extend it through 2008, said Jim Van Someren, a spokesman for Tri-State.

If workers vote to extend the contract again, they will receive pay increases of 3.5 percent in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to a letter the union sent to its members.

It will take a simple majority for the contract extension to pass, Van Someren said.

Employees from Craig Sta–tion will vote on the contract at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Thursday and 6:30 a.m. Friday at the Craig Holiday Inn, 300 S. Colorado Highway 13.

Union members in Rifle and Nucla voted Wednesday.

Election results should be in by the end of the week, Van Someren said.

The union declined to comment about the contract extension.

Robert Parrish, a union member at the plant in Rifle, is encouraging members to vote against the extension.

“This contract leaves a lot to be desired,” Parrish said.

Parrish said he wants the union to negotiate a new contract when the existing one expires in 2008.

“That’s what we pay them for,” he said.

Union members deserve a higher allowance for cost of living increases than 3.5 percent annually, he said.

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

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or

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