American Water Labor Relations Considered Tanked in 2012

Updated 11 weeks ago Special to HuntingtonNews.Net, Edited from a Press Release
American Water Labor Relations Considered Tanked in 2012

Editor's Note: From Utility Workers of America

Fifty-one percent of American Water’s employees – 3,900 out of 7,700 total employees – are represented by labor unions.  These include nearly 2,500 employees represented by the Utility Workers Union of America in 11 states across the U.S.  Another 1,400 American Water employees are represented by twelve other unions.

These employees work hard every day to keep water flowing to customers’ homes and businesses and to maintain the company’s operations.  Even so, top brass at American Water is rewarding that loyalty with steep concessions in workers’ healthcare benefits and demands to eliminate any semblance of job security for workers and their families.

In January 2012, the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint charging that American Water illegally cut healthcare, retiree health, and disability benefits for 3,500 workers in fifteen states across the U.S.

In October 2012, an NLRB administrative law judge upheld the complaint, finding that American Water unilaterally imposed the cutbacks in January 2011 without having notified state mediation agencies about the ongoing dispute during union contract negotiations.  The UWUA estimates that the backpay owed to workers in the case will exceed several million dollars.

In addition, American Water routinely demands the unlimited right to destroy any job security for working families during local negotiations.

In Pittsburgh, for example, UWUA Local 537 members have been working without a union contract since 2011 because of management demands for the right to destroy employees' jobs through unlimited outside contracting.

Meanwhile, American Water shells out exorbitant compensation packages to top executives.  In 2012, the company granted nearly $9.7 million in total compensation to only five top executives – including $3.8 million to CEO Jeffry Sterba.

American Water also continues to rake in enormous profits from ratepayers.  During 2012, the company boasted net profits of $358 million on $2.9 billion in total revenues.  American Water's profits increased nearly 16% over profits for 2011.

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