Union fighting for workers’ severance packages –
By Patricia Beech –
Photo by Mark Carpenter –
Dayton Power and Light employees recently began receiving their layoff notices in relation to the closing of the J.M. Stuart and Killen generation stations in Manchester and Aberdeen, Ohio.
In November 2016, DP&L announced a possible shutdown of the two coal-fired power generation plants citing market-driven challenges impacting the financial viability of the plants.
According to the layoff notice, AES Ohio Generation, LLC, DP&L’s parent company, expects layoffs to begin on June 1 with all layoffs being permanent.
“If other circumstances arise, this expected date could be earlier,” the letter reads. “The layoffs may come in stages, depending upon the business needs.”
The letter also indicated that, currently, employees will not be provided with severance benefits.
Since the announcement of a possible closure, the area community has rallied to keep the plants open.
“We’ll probably lose a lot of our families and students in the county,” Manchester Council member Christine Henderson said earlier in March. “The local economy will suffer with less people and less people in our school system. It’s sad. It’s just a no-win situation right now.”
According to the layoff notice, the utility giant is currently not required by Collective Bargaining Agreement to provide severance benefits to employees who will lose their jobs.
Utility Workers Union of America Vice President John Arnett said that a proper severance pay was something the union was really fighting for.
“Some of these guys have worked here for 40 years,” Arnett said. “They’re not wanting to give them much of anything in the way of a fair severance.”
Arnett said he isn’t worried about getting another job, he’s more worried for his community and his family.
“I know I’ll be able to find another job,” Arnett said. “We’ll be fine as far as us, but I’m more concerned about my kids. They go to school in Manchester. Are we doing our kids a disservice by staying here and not moving? What are we going to do about that? People say ‘Oh, just move’ but it’s not that easy when you have young kids. This place is our home.”
Even as employees begin receiving their notices of layoff, questions remain unanswered.
“Are they going to decommission the plants?” Arnett said. “Or are they just going to leave a five-stack graveyard in the middle of the county?”