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Mine workers to picket PacifiCorp Energy CEO's home

By C.J. McMANUS
Sun Advocate reporter

Members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) along with employees from the Deer Creek coal mine and Hunter Station coal preparation plant will conduct an informational picket Friday in front of the home of PacifiCorp Energy President and CEO Micheal Dunn.

According to a release sent out by the union Thursday, members of local unions 1769 and 2176 have set up the picket to bring attention to Dunn's role in the "management's proposal to cut safety provisions, cut health care for retired and active workers and eliminate pensions for some employees."

PacifiCorp, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway/MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., reported profits of $1.3 billion last year.

"The union seeks to inform the public about the company's massive profits and generous executive compensation, made possible by the tough, dirty, dangerous work that miners do deep underground to provide the coal that generates much of Utah's electrical power," said the release.

The picket is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m. and continue for two hours.

In May, more than 50 active, retired and widowed members of the UMWA left Carbon County to picket Berkshire Hathaway's annual stockholders meeting and the corporate offices of MidAmerican Energy in Iowa.

The collective bargaining agreement between MidAmerican, the parent company of Energy West, and the miners who work at Deer Creek, expired in early January.

"Since that time, management has refused to permit use of sick or vacation leave. Management has also demanded a 75 percent reduction in safety representation, proposed substandard health care coverage and used threats and intimidation to get its way," said UMWA Director of Communications Phil Smith, days before the May picket.

While officials representing MidAmerican would not address specific questions concerning the negotiations, they did provide the following statement this spring:

"Energy West Mining Company is bargaining in good faith with union leadership and has been for several months," said Maria O'Mara, spokesperson for Energy West Mining Company. "Both have made many proposals that have been discussed. Energy West Mining is committed to a resolution that is fair to both employees and customers, protects our commitment to safety and keeps costs competitive."

Another union negotiating with subsidiaries of MidAmerican in Utah, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers accepted a new contract with PacifiCorp via a June 18 vote.




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