UPDATE: KY American Water and NCFO Union Reach 4-Year Contractual Agreement

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UPDATE: LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) (PRESS RELEASE) (MARCH 3, 2022) Kentucky American Water and the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers Union have entered into a 4-year contractual agreement, the company confirmed today.

In a press release to ABC 36 News, Kentucky American Water states:

“We are pleased that after five months of negotiations, we have reached a fair agreement for the employees, the company and the customers we serve,” said David Farrar, vice president of operations for Kentucky American Water. “We are proud of our company’s history of a respectful, inclusive, collaborative and safety-conscious culture focused on providing quality, reliable and affordable service to our customers. We have never wavered from this commitment and look forward to continuing this tradition.

Throughout the negotiation process, the parties remained committed to finding a solution while continuing to provide reliable, high-quality water services to customers. Kentucky American Water looks forward to continuing to build on its strong relationships with its National Firefighters and Tankers Conference partners for the benefit of its customers and the communities it serves.

Farrar added, “We also want to reassure our customers that at no point in this process has the quality or reliability of their water service been compromised. We maintain a robust business continuity plan that utilizes multiple resources to help maintain service during a variety of potential scenarios that may impact our workforce.

Kentucky American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing reliable, high-quality water and sanitation services to about half a million people. To visit www.kentuckyamwater.com and follow Kentucky American Water on Twitter, Facebookand instagram.

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water (NYSE: AWK) is America’s largest and most geographically diverse water and wastewater utility company. The company employs approximately 6,400 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and similar drinking water and sanitation services to approximately 14 million people in 24 states. American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to help them get on with their lives. For more information, visit amwater.com and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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UPDATE 8:30 p.m., February 11, 2022:

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Strike averted. Sixty-eight members of the National Conference of Fireman and Oilers Union decided Friday not to go on strike as scheduled at 11:59 p.m. against the Kentucky American Water Company. The union called off the work stoppage and agreed to return to the bargaining table next week, according to the utility company.

Here is the press release released Friday evening by the company:

“Kentucky American Water and the National Conference of Fireman and Oilers Union have not yet reached a contractual agreement but union representatives have indicated that no work stoppage is expected tonight. unions will resume negotiations next week and operations will not be affected.”

The union had previously filed four unfair labor charges against the company with the National Labor Relations Board. The union claims that for the past four months the company has bargained in bad faith during contract negotiations, a claim the company denies.

UPDATED 10:10 a.m. Feb 11, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – As a strike by 68 of its workers looms at midnight Friday, Kentucky American Water issues a statement Friday assuring customers that water service would not be interrupted if the 68 union workers quit. work.

The statement read, “Kentucky American Water maintains strong business continuity and contingency plans. Our customers are at the center of everything we do and this advanced planning allows us to maintain water quality and reliable service in the meantime with the support of other experienced Kentucky American Water employees as well as contractors. . We are disappointed that the union has indicated that it will proceed with a work stoppage. We believe the latest, best, and final offer we presented to the National Firefighters and Tankers Conference is fair and reasonable and demonstrates our respect for employees and our commitment to providing reliable, quality service to our customers. Our offer is balanced in that it protects employees by offering them good jobs and fair compensation, without seeking any wage concessions, while improving the efficiency of the way we work. At the same time, it protects our customers by supporting the provision of quality, reliable, timely and affordable service around the clock.”

UPDATE 17:10 Feb 10, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The National Conference of Firefighters and Tankers issued a strike notice for unfair labor practices at Kentucky American Water on Thursday afternoon. The notice concerns 68 public service workers.

The union says the workers intend to strike beginning Friday, February 11 at 11:59 p.m. until the company remedies their unfair labor practices.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Kentucky American Water in Lexington is in hot water, you might say, after the National Conference of Firefighters and Tankers filed 4 unfair labor charges against the company with National Labor Relations Board.

“We’re getting to the point where we think action needs to be taken for the company to take us seriously,” said NCFO Secretary-Treasurer Robert Smith.

The union says that over the past four months the company has bargained in bad faith during contract talks, which cover 68 unionized workers.

“It’s just not a good environment right now to negotiate in good faith, the company has made it really difficult, we’re not distant, we’re not distant in our issues, we’re just very disappointed of the conduct of the business and what resulted in four labor charges,” Smith said.

Smith says Kentucky American has seen a 51% increase in profits over the past five years, its shareholders a 61% increase in dividends. He says the workers deserve to benefit from the success they helped create by providing safe drinking water to American customers in Kentucky.
Thus, the union is demanding a 3% wage increase at all levels, each year, during the four-year contract.

He says the company offered 3% in the first and fourth year and 2.5% in the second and third year.

The union refused this offer three times.

“They just wanted to talk about the company proposals and that’s not how you negotiate and that’s what’s really disappointing for this union,” Smith said.

Smith says that in addition to bad faith bargaining, the charges include the unlawful surveillance and interrogation of union workers and the use of intimidation tactics.
Smith says all documented evidence has been submitted to the National Labor Relations Board.

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In a statement provided to ABC 36 News, Kentucky American Water says:

“Unfortunately, filing unfair labor practice allegations against an employer is a common strategy in these situations. Although we are unable to comment on the pending actions, the company is confident that the NLRB will, as we have, find the charges to be without merit. In any case, the company remains willing to accept the union’s ratification of the company’s prior offer with the incentives.

Smith says the union is now at a point where workers will go on strike…soon.

“We want the company to come back and seriously consider the union’s proposals and have discussions about what the union is looking for and not just what it is prepared to offer.”

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