For the second year in a row, Nashville Electric Service (NES) crews brought home first and second place wins from the Tennessee Valley “Lineman Rodeo” in Huntsville, AL.
Along with the team competition, two NES linemen outshined everyone else during their solo events. SEIU member Tommy Barksdale won first place as an individual journey lineman out of 40 participants and member Michael Shannon won first overall as an apprentice lineman out of 102 competing.
“It makes me proud to know that I can stand with the best from across the state and say that I won,” said Barksdale. “During practice we strive to think outside the box to come up with different strategies to give us the edge. We watch and compete with other linemen from NES during practice to try and push ourselves to the next level both on the job and in competition.” “It takes time and skill to perfect the art of climbing and being able to work efficiently,” said Shannon. “I’ve had the privilege to be pushed by the guys on the team which helped me excel, and I’m extremely thankful for the opportunity to achieve such an honor.”
Twenty teams demonstrated their skills and knowledge by competing in events that simulate real-life situations. NES’ team members also include Cody Roberts, Josh Fuller, Timmy Sanford, Derek Pennington, Josh Jones, and Adam Harris—all of whom are SEIU members.
A group of union veterans and new recruits from Nashville Electric Service attended a stewards training that lasted over a two day period.
Using a combination of classroom techniques and roleplays, the N.E.S. stewards intensely studied their union contract, the company rules and policies, and best practices, per the union’s leadership development program. Trainings like this are organized throughout the year for the Local’s different chapters.
The Negotiating Committee and local president Doug Collier (right) go over proposals for the new agreement.
The Union’s contract committee at Nashville Electric Service (“NES”) completed negotiations on a new five-year agreement between SEIU Local 205 and the Power Board which includes dozens of improvements for workers, including:
- A 3% raise in the first year of the agreement.
- A new “80 and out” plan for retirement.
- Remove the 16-hour loan resulting from changing pay periods.
- Employees may convert up to 20 days of annual leave to sick leave.
For more details about the agreement, contact one of the chapter officers or bargaining team member.
For the second year in a row, an NES lineman has brought home a coveted first place trophy from the Tennessee Valley Lineman Rodeo.
Lineman Josh Fuller now has bragging rights as the best journeyman in the Valley from this year’s rodeo held in Sevierville, TN. Josh earned a perfect score in all four individual journeyman events.
In 2014, NES’ Derek Pennington placed first overall out of more than 50 competitors in the lineman apprentice events. Carrying on the tradition, NES lineman Michael Shannon achieved a second place finish this year in the same category.
The Lineman Rodeo allows crews to demonstrate their skills in events that simulate real-life situations. It is designed to promote safety on the job. Speed is important, but accuracy is crucial. The events are judged based on safety, skill and timely event completion.
Congrats to our members who show yet again that unions = quality!
For more pictures and info about this story, visit www.tnrodeo.com or you can take a look at pictures from this year’s rodeo at NES’ Facebook page.
Over 50 union members of SEIU Local 205 traveled from Nashville to Chattanooga to assist EPB crews in restoring power for thousands of customers who have no electricity due to the recent snowstorms.
Over the last two days, Hamilton County and its surrounding areas have been hit with a heavy snowfall which has caused road closings, injuries, fatalities, and widespread power outages. An estimated 26,000 homes and businesses in the Hamilton County area are currently without power and restoring service has challenged local authorities.
“It’s ironic that while Senator Corker has spent the last few weeks attacking labor unions at Volkswagen, that a unionized company and its unionized workers are stepping up and helping restore power to the city he used to be mayor of,” said Doug Collier, President of Service Employees International Union, Local 205. “We are proud of our members at NES and the company for answering the call for help. We represent city employees in Chattanooga as well and we want to make sure that they and their families are safe.”
Local 205 represents an overwhelming majority of employees at Nashville Electric Service, which is one of the highest rated electric utility companies in the southeast. NES has won dozens of industry and community awards and is one of only six utilities in the nation recognized by the American Public Power Association (APPA) for providing customers with the highest degree of reliable and safe electric service.
NES lineworkers and their support crews left Nashville on Thursday evening and began work overnight. It is unclear at this time how long NES crews will remain in Chattanooga.
A Tennessee Court of Appeals agreed with SEIU Local 205 when it found that the nepotism policy at Nashville Electric Service was “arbitrary” and “capricious” when the company demoted NES employee Gary Clarke after he married another NES employee back in 2007.
The story, which was reported by USA Today, shed light on the ways that companies in the private and public sector misinterpret nepotism policies. While nepotism policies are well-intentioned and designed to prevent workplace discrimination and bias in hiring, many companies in Tennessee invoke the rules over-cautiously, even when there is not a clear conflict of interest.
“It’s commonplace for companies to prevent employees from supervising relatives, but as this case shows, the policies are often hard to manage,” said Michelle Owens, the attorney who represented Mr. Clarke and SEIU Local 205 in the matter. The recent ruling re-affirmed a decision made by the state trial court.
Read the full story from USA Today.
SEIU members @ the Lineworkers Rodeo.
The Lineworkers’ Rodeo allows electrical lineman crews from all across the United States to demonstrate their skills in five different contests that simulate real-life situations. The Rodeo is specifically designed to promote safety and excellence on the job while providing a sense of competition and accomplishment for highly skilled workers who literally risk their lives every day.
As usual, workers from Nashville Electric Service wrangled their share of wins at the American Public Power Association’s Lineworkers’ Rodeo, which was held in Cleveland, OH this year.
The NES West team placed first overall out of the 45 teams competing for top honors. Team members – all of whom are SEIU members – were Tommy Barksdale, Matt Heathman, Matthew Woodside, and Jay Truett.
The NES Donelson team—which included SEIU members Jeremy Woodside, Timmy Sanford, Cody Roberts, and John Minor—placed in the top five.
Other standout performances came from Don Hunter, Mark McNabney, Jeremy Pilkerton, and Jay Truett, who all finished in the top three for various individual events.
Congratulations to Local 205 members at Nashville Electric Service for their success and a commitment to excellence in the electric power industry!
NES workers discuss their concerns at the Courthouse before a Metro Council meeting.
SEIU members at Nashville Electric Service voted overwhelmingly to approve an historic new five-year agreement that brings great improvements in pay and benefits for current employees and retirees.
“This is one of the best union contracts that our members have ever won and it may be one of the best in any industry in the southeast,” said Shane Lankford, a senior meter technician who also serves as the NES chapter’s 1st Vice President, Local 205’s Executive Vice President and participated as one of the seven NES bargaining team members.
The contract guarantees a minimum of 10% raise over five years and possibly more depending on the cost of living index. SEIU members also won major new benefits in their health and retirement package, including an improvement in NES retirees’ prescription drug coverage, new coverage for various surgeries and tests, and a comprehensive vision plan that covers workers and their families. Employees also now have an option to take up to 35% lump sum option at the time of their retirement. The Union also won an increase in the uniform allowance.
Members attribute the contract victory to: strong leadership, solidarity, and participation from members throughout the entire process.