Limited Energy Unit of IBEW Local 46 on Strike

Originally published in Labor Today

More than 150 Limited Energy (LE) workers represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 46 in Kent, Washington, are on strike after failing to come to an agreement with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) on Thursday, April 11th. The LE workers spent the week leading up to the strike on training and with the help of other trades were able to shut down five job sites.

“NECA wants us to continue working day in and day out with NO paid time off, and FORCED unpaid furlough on holidays. Union workers fought hard to set the original standard for paid holidays and PTO across the workforce. Management at the NECA contractors we work for enjoy the benefits of that hard-fought paid time off, but we don’t. It’s time for that to change.” Kaylin Ullman, Local 46 strike captain

Local 46 has “not been on strike since after WWII,” said Megan Kirby. “We DID NOT want to call for a STRIKE but NECA has left us no choice.” Members of Local 46 were staging a rally on Monday April 15th in support of the LE members in Bellevue, WA. Strike training will continue the following week.

One NECA contractor, Net Com, has already separated from the organization and as such has been removed from the strike list. LE workers that are not employed by Net Com, Project Labor Agreement (PLA) or a Community Workforce Agreement (CWA) are, as of this writing, on strike.

“These well-trained and specialized electricians deserve a contract that reflects the value of their expertise and the importance of their work. Their wages, working conditions and quality of life should reflect their dedication to the craft and to keeping the public safe. But so far, employers are treating them like they are disposable and easily replaced. It’s frustrating because we’ve been in negotiations since January — and now time is running out.” Sean Bagsby, Business Manager for IBEW 46