Saturday, January 20, 2018
Business

Duke Energy, union at odds in Florida over benefits

A union that represents electrical workers in Florida says Duke Energy wants to cut the health and life insurance benefits of union retirees as the utility did with nonunion retirees earlier this fall.

In addition, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents about 1,900 of the 4,000 Duke employees in the state, says the utility wants to eliminate spouse benefits of current workers, restrict holiday benefits and reduce sick pay for employees.

Most troubling to the union is language proposed by Duke that would essentially end any effectiveness the union might have for its Duke workers in the state.

The proposed language states: "Duke Energy retains the right to amend, modify or terminate its benefits plans in any respect and at any time, and neither its benefits, nor your plan participation will be considered a contract for future employment," according the union's website.

Edward Mobsby Jr., business manager for the IBEW, declined to comment on the ongoing bargaining because, he said, union representatives and the utility agreed "we're not going to negotiate through the press. We're working very hard to obtain a contract."

The current contract expires Dec. 2 with a provision to extend it for 60 days if the parties choose.

"Duke Energy has presented a fair and competitive contract proposal to the union and looks forward to positive, productive, ongoing negotiations," said Dave Scanzoni, a Duke spokesman. "As negotiations progress, Duke Energy continues to provide reliable, dependable electric service to its Florida customers, 24/7 — and will do so in 2014 and the years ahead."

Negotiations appear to have grown increasingly tense since they began Oct. 15.

"We're going to have a 'train wreck' at the end of negotiations if we don't get the language we want," the union on its website quoted Duke as saying. "We are willing to force the employees to strike, in order to get what we want."

Scanzoni said Duke would not confirm the veracity of the statements because the negotiations are confidential.

In September, Duke announced that nonunion retirees 65 or older will not receive health insurance coverage directly from the utility starting Jan. 1, part of a growing trend by businesses to reduce costs.

Comments
Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

The state has opened an investigation into CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, days after the Tampa Bay Times asked about whether the two regional job centers were inflating the number of people they had helped get hired. The agencies, ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

Tech firm TranferWise moves to Ybor City, illustrating a new chapter in Tampa’s business history

TAMPA — You could sketch an economic history of the city of Tampa — and maybe get a glimpse of its future — just by looking at the old J. Seidenberg & Co./Havana-American Cigar Factory.It opened in 1894, making it Ybor City’s second-oldest brick ciga...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Want to buy into an exchanged-traded bitcoin fund? You might have a long wait

NEW YORK — It may be a while, if ever, before investors can buy an exchange-traded fund made up of bitcoin and other digital currencies. Federal regulators have a long list of questions they want answered before they’ll approve a digital currency fun...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Child psychologist weighs in on mom who charges 5-year-old ‘rent’

Child psychologist weighs in on mom who charges 5-year-old ‘rent’

A Georgia mother has gone viral for charging her 5-year-old "rent." Yup — the kid pays up for food, water, cable and electric, too.Essense Evans described in a Facebook post how she handles her daughter’s allowance. The post, written on Saturday, was...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Addicted to your smartphone? Now there’s an app for that

Did you text? Sorry, I can’t see messages right now. Arianna Huffington locked my phone.The media tycoon turned wellness entrepreneur wants to keep you out of your phone, too, with a new app called Thrive. Its goal is to make it cool for a generation...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Proposed monument near St. Pete pier would honor Tony Jannus history-making flight

Proposed monument near St. Pete pier would honor Tony Jannus history-making flight

ST. PETERSBURG — Tony Jannus’s history-making flight in an early seaplane — simultaneously as ungainly and graceful as a pelican on the wing — is what Mayor Rick Kriseman calls an "under-told and under-appreciated" story, but a team of local history ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Learn how bus rapid transit (and rail) could work in Tampa Bay

Learn how bus rapid transit (and rail) could work in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — The newest hope for transportation in the Tampa Bay area is a bus rapid transit system projected to cover the 41-miles separating St. Petersburg from Wesley Chapel and attract 4,500 new riders at a fraction of the cost of light rail....
Updated: 9 hours ago
Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

Five things Tampa Bay needs to know about bus rapid transit

ST. PETERSBURG — Transportation planners on Friday unveiled a new transit vision for Tampa Bay leaders on Friday morning: Bus rapid transit.Also known as BRT, it has arisen as the leading option in an ongoing study to find the best regional transit p...
Published: 01/19/18
Amazon boosts monthly Prime membership fees by 20 percent

Amazon boosts monthly Prime membership fees by 20 percent

NEW YORK — Amazon is raising the price of its Prime membership monthly plan by nearly 20 percent. The fee of $99 for an annual membership will not change, the company said Friday. The online retailer had added the monthly payment option about two yea...
Published: 01/19/18
Cuba’s tourism is booming despite Trump’s tougher policy

Cuba’s tourism is booming despite Trump’s tougher policy

HAVANA — On a sweltering early summer afternoon in Miami’s Little Havana, President Donald Trump told a cheering Cuban-American crowd that he was rolling back some of Barack Obama’s opening to Cuba in order to starve the island’s military-run economy...
Published: 01/19/18