The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 611— representing members who build, operate, and maintain power generation facilities and transmission systems across the state — has endorsed the proposed PNM/Avangrid merger, because the merger will advance and modernize our electrical infrastructure and improve service to communities across the state.
Needless to say, we are distressed over the Recommended Decision about the merger. While the document outlines in great details the pros and cons of the merger, one important group is forgotten – the front-line workers who ensure New Mexico’s power grid is safe and reliable. Voting against the merger is a vote against the people who keep the power grid operational.
We support the merger commitments including:
• No involuntary terminations except for cause or performance (other than those associated with the planned closure of the San Juan Generating Station) and no reductions of wages or benefits to union or non-union employees for a minimum of three years following the closing of the Proposed Transaction.
• Avangrid will honor PNM’s current collective bargaining agreement and will use good faith in any future collective bargaining agreement negotiation. Within six (6) months following closing of the Transaction, PNM will study the pension for union employees to evaluate whether the pension is fully funded and will work with the union to ensure that the pension remains fully funded.
• Twenty of the new 150 jobs to be electric service business unit craftsmen at PNM and will prioritize hiring personnel that have been or will be displaced as a result of San Juan Generating Station closure for those positions.
We know the kind of company Avangrid is from our counterparts in the states where Avangrid does business. And they are exactly the kind of company we want in New Mexico. Not only will Avangrid keep all of us employed, but they will also be providing new apprenticeship training opportunities our state desperately needs to meet the demands of our ever-changing electrical infrastructure. These are our jobs — New Mexico’s jobs — and with PRC approval, our industry will continue to provide earning power, training and life-long careers for our communities and our economy. That’s a great opportunity for all New Mexicans.
We hope the Public Regulation Commission will take into account our perspective. IBEW represents the thousands of people from all over the state that count on our jobs. Good jobs. New Mexico can’t afford to turn its back on another great company. Without this merger going through, it means many of us will lose our jobs. Say yes to jobs. Say yes to the future.
We need to welcome Avangrid and move toward a future that works for everyone.
Pete Trujillo is the business manager for IBEW Local 611.