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PSNS workers file labor charge

The Planners-Estimators, Pro-gressmen and Schedulers Local 6, which represents workers in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard has filed an unfair labor practice charge against shipyard management.

The charge stems from position description changes made to inspectors and test directors when crane activities at Subbase Bangor and the shipyard were merged.

Under the changes that were implemented on Dec. 13, 30 positions at the shipyard were downgraded to streamline rating.

The union has been working with management since April to formulate accurate job descriptions for each of the disputed positions, said Holly McCoy, PEPS Local 6 vice president.

“They first talked about this in the middle of October and we immediately informed that we wanted to bargain,” she said.

After numerous attempts to arrange meetings with management, which were often set with less than 24 hours notice, a meeting was finally conducted on Dec. 12, one day before the changes were implemented.

“During our first meeting they said there were things they were going to look at and see about possibly changing,” she said. “We had a meeting set for today (Dec. 15) but it was cancelled.”

The new position descriptions included catch-all phrases including “as assigned,” that are seldom used, she said.

“Part of our issue is that a worker has a right to an accurate position description,” she said.

While the positions at the shipyard and Bangor are similar, there are differences, she said.

“We have more responsibilities and requirements, because we’re a nuclear shipyard,” she said. “The position description is so generic that unless someone does some research they won’t know the difference.”

Even though, it appears the shipyard is saving money by making the changes, McCoy said it is a lose-lose situation for everyone involved.

“I believe it is ultimately going to hurt the quality of work, and workers are going to ultimately lose between $5,000 and $7,000 a year,” she said.

However, management appears to be unaffected by the changes and some managers could receive raises, she said.

“If it’s the right thing to do for the workers, then it should be the right thing for management too,” McCoy said.

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