GRAND HAVEN, MICH., October 25, 2022 — The Grand Haven Board of Light and Power (BLP) has approved an agreement with the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) AFL-CIO Local 582 for a four-year contract through June 30, 2026. This is the first union agreement between the board and UWUA since the retirement of the J.B. Sims coal-fired power plant in 2020. Since that time, the utility has been successful in transitioning former plant operators and maintenance personnel into new roles in the organization without layoffs.
“We place a high value on our skilled team members who keep our system operating at an award-winning level of reliability,” said David Walters, general manager of the BLP. “We’re grateful for our good working relationship with the UWUA.”
Members of Local 582 have also ratified the contract, which includes adjustments to insurance premium copays, wage schedules, and yearly wages. The first year includes a 4.5% wage adjustment retroactive to August 7, 2022, followed by 4%, 3.5%, and 3% wage adjustments in the following three years, respectively. The board also approved a limited re-opener to potentially increase wages further for the 3rd and 4th years of the contract.
“With inflationary pressure at a 40-year high, and our inability to know how long they will continue into the future, we incorporated a limited wage re-opener should we need to increase wages further for the third and fourth year of the contract,” said Walters.
The contract also establishes a wage structure that coincides with the BLP’s new organizational structure and includes four job ladders, each supported by entry-level apprenticeship programs for line workers, tree trimmers, electrical technicians, and system operators.