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From the President

To:           EA Active Members

From:      Gay Henson, President, EA-IFPTE #1937

VW President,

  VP - IFPTE Eastern Federal 

Date:        25Feb19 EA Update

Special Honor given to Danny Moore - Telecom Tech (Knoxville)

On a recent cold February morning, our very own Danny Moore was given one of the nation’s highest privileges as he was allowed to lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, DC.  Danny was selected by the IFPTE to participate in the memorial service.  He was chosen for this honor because of his dedication and commitment to Veterans at TVA and for his service to our country.  Danny serves the EA-local #1937 as one of 3 members appointed to the IFPTE Veteran’s Committee.  Thank you, Danny. You have, once again, made us proud!

 

Danny is far right (in uniform). Joining Danny from left to right is Jeffery Forbes (WA), Tim Rudolph (NJ), Paul Shearon, IFPTE President & Ben Toyoma (HI).

Danny is far right (in uniform). Joining Danny from left to right is Jeffery Forbes (WA), Tim Rudolph (NJ), Paul Shearon, IFPTE President & Ben Toyoma (HI).

Nuclear Engineering Programs & Design Groups

            NPG Programs:  The EA, working together with Corporate Nuclear Power, has signed an agreement (MOU). The agreement allows Programs Engineers to centralize to Corporate in Chattanooga.  It protects worker’s pay while allowing most to maintain their same work duties without the need for using the VPA or the IRIF procedures. 

            NPG Design:  The EA met recently with Mike Durr to begin a similar process of working through the centralization of Design Engineering to Corporate - Chattanooga. We are at the very beginning stages of hearing from management what they want to accomplish with this re-organization.  We will be working closely with TVA to make sure the process is done smoothly, with as few disruptions to our members work lives.  

IT News

With all these rumors swirling around about a possible reorganization in IT, we’ve asked about it.   As always, IT management continues to look for ways to gain efficiencies in the work flow and processes.  Last week, the IT management presented a day long session to share their vision of the coming organization.  Everyone would probably agree, there was not a lot of detail in the information shared.  Your EA leadership will, of course, work together with management should any impactful changes/actions be proposed that may affect our members. We will communicate more as soon as the information becomes available.

IFPTE Legislative Conference

Led by Terry Readus, Chair of the EA’s Legislative Committee, a team of 5 delegates just got back from an IFPTE sponsored legislative conference, February 3-8, in Washington, DC.  We focused on policy & legislation critical to the interests of all sectors of IFPTE’s membership. Specific to TVA, we talked to our local congressmen and also some of the committees that have oversight of TVA.  Our concerns include: 1) 2018 Federal budget which calls for the privatization of TVA’s Transmission lines (2019 budget is expected to be released shortly), 2) the large number of contractors at TVA right now & 3) the continued underfunding of TVARS.  We did, on occasion, ask for any insight our nation’s leaders might have regarding the Green New Deal, allowing them to share their position on this much discussed initiative and any possible impacts (good or bad) this might have on TVA.  

We talked to the following offices*:

            Senator Lamar Alexander, TN                       Representative Robert Aderholt, AL

            Senator Doug Jones, AL                                 Representative Mo Brooks, AL And various lawmakers from committees & subcommittees having oversight of TVA.

*A concerted effort was made to talk to all of the congressmen in our region.  However some leaders were not available during our time in DC.  We will try again with them on our next visit. 

As we keep a physical presence on Capitol Hill, we continue to build relationships and advocate for support of items that are important to our Union and its diverse membership.  The IFPTE is extremely vital to the steps we are taking towards promoting the proper influence on behalf of not just our members, but the future of TVA as a whole.  

Employee Benefits

Just a reminder that in our last benefits negotiations TVA proposed that the prescription drug plan include the Express Scripts National Formulary which would exclude from any coverage 164 drugs, many of which our members currently have prescribed by their physicians.  This provision would mean that members who are currently taking these drugs or have them prescribed would have to pay 100% of the cost or switch to another drug alternative approved by Express Scripts.  The EA does not believe this practice to be a prevalent practice.  TVA invoked the right, both parties have, to take this issue through the mediation process before going to arbitration.  Mediation has not yet been scheduled.

Please remember that The EA and TVA have agreed to grandfather EA plan members throughout calendar year 2019 who are currently using a drug that would be considered excluded. 

Elections are in progress…let’s get involved!

Section Officers elections are underway across the valley.  EA-IFPTE local #1937 has 5 sections: 

Chattanooga, Chickamauga, North Eastern, Nashville-West and Southern

As soon as our officer elections are complete, each group within the sections, will begin Designated Union Rep (DUR) elections.   I encourage you to get involved.  If you have ever had an interest in stepping up your participation in your UNION…now is the time to throw your hat in the ring.   The EA will provide you with the training and development you need to be a successful leader in the EA-IFPTE local #1937.   You can be a part of making the changes you want to see both at TVA and inside the union.  We are constantly looking for fresh new ideas that your active participation will bring to us!    

And the all new “What have you done for me lately files?”: A Story of Recent Successes! 

·         An EA member was awarded $7,300 as a settlement related to TVA assigning work (for 7 months) outside of their classification.

·         An EA member was awarded $6,000 and a 12% base pay increase as a settlement related to a non-selection on a vacancy posting.

·         An EA member was awarded $2,250 award and a 2.4% base pay increase related to their disputed Performance Review rating.

·         The EA negotiated a retroactive pay amount of $7,900 for an employee who had performed work at a higher classified position and TVA had not paid him for this work.

 Over the last few months, successful grievance processing awards of more than $23,000 in back pay (between them) and base pay increases ranging from 2.4% up to 12%.  

As members, you need to be aware of what is gained for fellow members and the value there is in staying actively involved in both your career and your union. 

 

Hearing from You

Sometimes the only way we know problems are out there is for you to reach out and make us aware.  Please do not hesitate to call your local leaders, Gary Watson or Renae McKenzie in the EA office at (865)632-2489 if you have any problems or issues you may feel we could possibly help you with.

In the coming year, we look to be involved with some projects that will allow us to give back to the communities surrounding TVA.  If you have an idea of a project or outreach that you would like to see us consider, please let us know.

 

Membership

Why is membership so important?

•       Bargaining Strength

•      If we are not growing, we are losing bargaining power and our union.

•      Signing up members increases our bargaining power during negotiations. Congressional leaders also take note of our EA member saturation.

•      Sustainability

•      Work change, management comes and goes and new legislation passes.  If our union is not growing and planning for the future it is destined to lose bargaining power or worse, disappear.

•       

Members, like you, are the life’s blood of the union.  Joining is simple… go to the EA website www.tvaea.com and click on the JOIN button.  There will be an EA MEMBERSHIP FORM there, print it and fill out the membership form!  Then simply scan it and email it to bbtvaea5@tva.gov or mrmckenzie@tva.gov .

 

 

EA Section Presidents & VW officers:

Chattanooga                        Brandon Sapp                                       Southern                             Alan Turpen

Chickamauga                        Jason Ferrell                                          VW Vice President          Gary Jordan

 North Eastern                      Stacy Ammons                                      VW Secretary            Carolyn Wilson

Nashville-West                     Brad Shultz                                            VW Treasurer                       Dan Kirk

 

In solidarity,

Gay Henson

EA VW President, IFPTE #1937

IFPTE VP - Eastern Federal

To:       EA members

From: Gay Henson, Valley-wide President

Date:   September 20, 2018

Pay for Performance Budget FY19

The performance pay budget for 2019 is 3.0 percent.  This budget is calculated by using the total payroll for all EA-represented employees.  Market rates will be increased by 2.25 percent effective October 1, 2018.  

 A bit of background info:  Our contract says that now is the time frame to determine the pay for the next 3 years.  That didn’t happen.  Just yesterday morning, EA and TVA reached agreement for year one (1) only.  The pay for performance budget for FY 2019 is 3%.  We will continue negotiations to determine the pay budget for years two (FY20) & three (FY21). 

 The performance review year will end on September 30, 2018.  Your manager should be having your end-of-year performance review discussions any time between late September and mid-November.  If, for some reason, you disagree with any of your annual rating/comments, you have 30 calendar days from the date you receive the annual review to file a grievance.  Your DUR can help you with this joint process.

 The below pay matrix shows the range of pay increases available to EA bargaining unit employees based on your overall rating.  Please note that the percentage is based on the midpoint of your job’s market range and not a percentage of your current pay.

The target date for performance pay awards to be in employee pay is mid-November.  We have asked TVA for an IPM schedule but it’s not available yet.  Retroactive increases may appear on a different pay check.  Any portion of a performance-based pay adjustment that would result in a salary exceeding the top of the range will be paid in lump sum.

PERFORMANCE GOAL SETTING FOR 2019

Just a reminder, your goals should always be something that you can control and that are attainable, specific and relevant to your work.  Goals should be measureable if at all possible. Please spend the time necessary to set good goals.  Setting good SMART goals at the beginning of the year is essential to having the measurement at the end go without difficulty. The goal-setting process can be found in our collective bargaining agreement in S-12.  Your manager should soon provide your Business Unit’s goals to use in jointly establishing your individual employee goals to support your business unit.  However, you should review S-12 and be getting prepared for this process now.  There is a separate dispute resolution process for goal setting issues.  Your Designated Union Rep (DUR) can help you with this if it becomes necessary.  Also, so many of our folks are new to TVA; if you need assistance with goal setting, please contact your local DUR for help. 

Please note:  We are seeing an increase in the use of Safety as a job duty.  Safety is not an objective.  Objectives should be based on your job duties.  Safety is a performance competency.  Unless your job is a safety position - like a safety engineer or a rad protection/safety tech or health physicist - safety should be included in your performance appraisal as a competency only and not as a job duty type goal.   If this becomes an issue while setting your goals with management and management is insistent on making safety a goal, you may need help navigating through it with your manager.  Please reach out to your DUR and we can give you more background information.  We want to help!

 Benefits - Plan Design Negotiations

Each spring, the EA and TVA negotiate Benefits Plan Design. This year has been very difficult.   It has been a hard fought battle and we have reached agreement in all but one area. 

How this is done:  Most of the ideas regarding changes to plan design come from you and your experiences.  You, the members, tell us of changes you’d like us to pursue.  Many times, these come from your own personal experiences.  Both parties come to the table with ideas about what we see may need to change or adjust regarding our benefits package.  We study published benchmark data to indicate the need to make changes.  Basically, we have to determine if any proposed changes are prevalent practices in the industry, the southeast and with employers having greater than 10,000 employees.  

 Here is an update on where we stand right now regarding plan design along with some details about the one item that is still open. 

 TVA’s contribution to the Health Savings Accounts for those enrolled in the CDHP will remain unchanged. 

 The EA and TVA have agreed that there will be no increase to premiums for 2019.  Yes, that is correct.   80% PPO, CDHP, Dental 2000, Dental 1200 and Dental 750 biweekly rates remain unchanged from 2018 rates.   This is certainly good news. 

Employee Benefit Negotiations - Summary of current status:

While we are keeping premiums unchanged, deductibles are changing as follows:

  • CDHP Out-of-network deductible:                              2018                  2019

  • Individual       $2600                $2700

  • Family       $5200                $5400

 

  • 80% PPO In-network deductible:                                2018                  2019

  • Individual          $400                 $450

  • Family           $800                  $950

 

  • 80% PPO In-network out of pocket maximums:       2018                  2019

  • Individual         $2500                $2750

  • Family        $5000                $5500

 

  • 80% Out-of-Network deductibles:                            2018                 2019

  • Individual      $800                $900

  • Family          $1600              $1800

    

  • 80% Out-of-Network out-of-pocket maximums:     2018               2019

  • Individual     $5,000           $5,500

  • Family       $10,000          $11,000

 

  • We agreed to expand coverage of speech, behavior, and occupational therapy for children.  The expansion allows for children who were born with their conditions to be covered. 

  • We’ve agreed to expand the maintenance medication program by allowing 90-day prescriptions to be filled at Walgreens as retail - which means you are no longer limited to mail order only for your maintenance drug fills.   Walgreens was chosen because it has the largest per capita presence in the Tennessee Valley area. 

  • TVA proposed 3 components that are designed to help our plan manage cost.  The EA agreed to add a Prescription Drug Dosage Management component while rejecting TVA’s proposal to allow for increased Prior Authorization & Step Therapy components of their Utilization Management Program (ESI’s Advantage Plus).   

  • TVA proposed an elaborate opioid management program to be administered by Express Scripts. The program limits each prescription to a 7-day supply and includes an education program and method which provides for disposal of unused opioids.  The EA agreed to the 7-day supply provision, however, did not agree to provisions for education and disposal because of these program’s excessive cost to the medical plan. Also, similar provisions are available without costs through other avenues. 

  • Our vision plan frequency will change to once per calendar year rather than once in any 12 month period.   This means that each year you can access your benefits without having to count how long ago it was you last used your benefit.  It’s available to you each calendar year.  

  • We have increased current maximum for child supplemental life insurance coverage from $10,000 to $15,000. 

  • TVA will increase the maximum credits for the Health Check (wellness program) from $200 to $600.  

  • TVA withdrew their proposal that would allow inclusion to our healthcare plan for Transgender Reassignment Surgery. 

Ongoing dispute:

  • TVA proposed that the prescription drug plan include the Express Scripts National Formulary which would exclude from any coverage 164 drugs, many of which our members currently have prescribed by their physicians.  This provision would mean that members who are currently taking these drugs or have them prescribed would have to pay 100% of the cost or switch to another drug alternative approved by Express Scripts.  The EA does not believe this practice to be a prevalent practice.   Although discussions continue at this time, it is very likely the EA will not agree to this proposal and declare impasse, thus taking this proposal to arbitration. TVA has notified the EA of their plan to implement the Express Scripts National Formulary for calendar year 2019 despite our dispute of the plan change.  The EA and TVA have agreed to grandfather the 10% or so of our EA plan members who are currently using a drug that would be considered excluded in 2019. 

EA Section Presidents & VW officers:

Chattanooga        Brandon Sapp     Nashville-West    Brad Shultz         

Chickamauga      Jason Ferrell North Eastern    Gary Jordan   Southern     Alan Turpen

Engineering Association Officers:

Vice President      Melvin Dean        Secretary     Carl Merchant         Treasurer  Dan Kirk

In solidarity,

Gay Henson

EA President, IFPTE #1937

IFPTE VP - Eastern Federal

From the President

To:       EA members

From: Gay Henson, Valley-wide President

Date:   May 18, 2018

 

Membership Drive

Have you asked anyone lately, “Are you a part of the EA?” 

We are excited to begin an EA membership drive.  Any new member will receive an EA Tervis Tumbler.  Additionally, any member who signs up 3 new members will receive a tumbler too! Joining is simple… go to the EA website www.tvaea.com and click on the JOIN button.  There will be an EA MEMBERSHIP FORM that can be printed.  Fill out the membership form, scan it and email to bbtvaea5@tva.gov or mrmckenzie@tva.gov .  We plan on running our membership drive throughout the summer, ending in late August.  I would love to see all of us of like mind to come together this summer as one strong unified voice! 

 

Why is membership so important?

•        Bargaining Strength

•       If we are not growing, we are losing bargaining power and our union.

•       Signing up members increases our bargaining power during negotiations and with issues outside of the workplace (e.g., legislation), as well as providing more services to our members.

•       Sustainability

•       Work changes, management comes and goes, new legislation passes.  If our union is not growing and planning for the future it is destined to lose bargaining power or worse, disappear. 

Negotiations

The Collective Bargaining Agreement between TVA and the EA renews every three years unless either party desires to open the agreement for negotiations.  This year (2018) both parties agreed to not open the entire contract.  However, we did agree to negotiate over the following items:

  • TVA proposed using a 5 point rating scale for performance reviews instead of the 4 point scale currently being used for EA represented employees. The EA did not support moving to a 5 point rating. However, the EA did agree to make adjustments to the performance ratings in S-12:C as well as the weighted overall scores which determine your overall ratings (S-12:C & S-4:D). We think you will like these changes.

            The rating scale will continue to be on a 4 point basis.   The rating for an unacceptable in one of the goals or competencies in the past has been a minus 1, this rating would    change to a positive 1.  In addition, the minimum  overall score to receive an overall          exceeds  will change from 3.6 to 3.5,  satisfactory changes from 2.6 to 2.5.and the        beginning of the range for a marginal rating will move from a 2.0 to a 1.5 and an unacceptable will move from below 2 to below 1.49. 

            All of these changes are positive for our EA represented employees.

See attached MOU for exact wording to changes.

 

  • These two items still in negotiations.

The EA proposed making these changes to our contract.  TVA has not agreed to these changes.  The parties will meet together again over the next several weeks to continue discussions. 

#1 - related to work on scheduled off days. 

EA proposes:

“Employees receive time-and-one half the straight-time rate for the first nonworkday he/she works in a workweek.  Employees receive twice the straight-time rate for the second nonworkday he/she works in a workweek.  Employees receive time-and-one-half the straight-time rate for any other nonworkdays he/she works in a workweek. Employees with four off days (12 hour shift schedules) in a workweek will receive double time on the

second off day he/she works and double time on the fourth off day he/she works.

#2 - related to pay or compensation time for callouts. This change would provide some compensation for our represented employees who receive multiple calls and often repeated calls after they leave the work place.  

EA proposes:

            “Employees called for work without reporting outside of and not continuous with their           regularly scheduled hours are paid at the applicable overtime rate, or accorded             compensatory time, but no less than two hours’ pay at the straight time rate for employees on the inflexible schedule and no less than two hours’ compensatory time for             employees on the flexible schedule.

            The EA and TVA will continue discussions on items #1 & # 2 above.

FY 19 Pay for Performance, Market Rates and CY 19 Benefits

The EA and TVA will begin discussions over the next few weeks concerning the pay budget (annual performance increases) and market rate (mid-point) adjustments.

The EA and TVA have begun negotiations regarding CY 19 benefit plan design changes. While last year, we were able keep our deductibles low with little to no changes, changes to deductibles are certain to be requested by TVA.  Some plan design changes that are being discussed include expanding coverage for speech/behavior/occupational therapy for children, moving to Express Scripts’ National Preferred Formulary and possible changes to prior authorization, step therapy & quantity/dose management.   One other possible change is to allow 90-day prescription fills/refills at Walgreens.    TVA proposes, again this year, to remove an existing transgender reassignment surgery exclusion.  TVA has already agreed and announced the maximum Healthcheck credits will increase from $200- $600…with the credits earned this year paying out in calendar year 2019.

I am certain you saw the TVA Today yesterday regarding opioid abuse.  TVA and many of its union partners have joined forces to roll out a new source of help in the battle against opioid abuse.  The EA has been presented this same plan.  However, we have some additional questions and concerns about the new program and have not reached full agreement with TVA.  The EA recognizes the ongoing problems in our community related to opioid abuse. We see the often tragic consequences this epidemic has created. We support making changes necessary to address this issue head on.  At the same time, we also want to assure we don’t, in haste, make changes to our benefits plan that aren’t necessary or are burdensome to you in any way.  Therefore, we are continuing our discussions with TVA about opioid abuse.  More information to come!

Timely Grievance Hearings & Resolution Implementation

We are having a difficult time getting grievance hearings scheduled in a timely manner. This causes unnecessary delays getting your issues resolved!  You deserve a timely result to issues you bring to TVA through our EA processes.  Pay adjustments that come from resolutions and grievances seem to take a snail’s pace to see to complete closure.   I met with and discussed this issue with the management of both Labor Relations and Human Resources.  This has gone on for far too long now! And while I believe that TVA now recognizes this as a true problem that needs an immediate correction, I look to see improvement in this area over the weeks and months to come.  If this problem does not improve we may be forced to work through other channels with our congressional representatives to seek remedy. 

Health & Safety Recognition - the EA salutes you!

At TVA’s Agency Health & Safety Committee meeting last week, the EA recognized 3 of our bargaining unit folks!  We are grateful for their contribution to keeping our sisters and brothers safe! 

Brian Scott & John Kirby - Brian and John discovered the alkaline battery disposal process was incorrect and drafted a bulletin with information about the correct process.

Ben Taylor - Ben submitted a suggestion to add an AED to the MR Auditorium area.  Then, his TVA local Health and Safety Committee made it happen!

Jeremy Goodman - Jeremy’s Raccoon Mountain management team recognized him “for his quick assessment and actions that led to identifying the eventual failure of the U3 shaft mechanical seal. He determined that the unit needed to come off and the seal be inspected.  After investigation, it was determined that if the unit continued to run, the mechanical seal would have completely failed.  This would have caused extensive damage to the seal collar around the turbine shaft and mechanical seal hardware.  Seal failure would have caused the wheel pit to flood and the resulting unit outage would have been far more costly and extensive.  Jeremy is conscientious and engaged and is an asset to plant safety and improvements.”

Hearing from You

Sometimes the only way we know of problems you face is if you reach out to us and make us aware.  Please do not hesitate to call either Gary Watson or Renae McKenzie in the EA office at (865) 632-2489 if you have any problems or issues you need to make us aware of.

 

EA Section Presidents & VW officers:

Chattanooga        Brandon Sapp     Nashville-West    Brad Shultz          Chickamauga      Jason Ferrell North Eastern    Gary Jordan   Southern               Alan Turpen

Engineering Association Officers:

Vice President      Melvin Dean        Secretary     Carl Merchant         Treasurer  Dan Kirk

 

In solidarity,

Gay Henson

EA President, IFPTE #1937

IFPTE VP - Eastern Federal

 
MOU Performance Rating.JPG

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