Double standard charged at company

To the Journal editor:

The Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette ceased generating electricity on March 31, 2019. We Energies out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, owns and operates the plant. Recently there has been information reported on WLUC-TV6 and in The Mining Journal that has been incorrect.

That information has led the public to believe that We Energies is offering laid off employees at PIPP employment with the company if the employee wants it. We would like to set the record straight.

The fact of the matter is although we have tried on numerous occasions to reason with the company that it would be in their best interest to offer employment to experienced, dedicated people that the company has invested years of time and substantial financial resources, the company has turned a blind eye on them. Even in the case of the new gas generating facilities We Energies recently built in the U.P., We-Energies chose to contract staffing of these plants to a company called the PIC GROUP. While 15 to 20 PIPP employees (or more) applied and interviewed for these jobs, they chose only two to work at these gas plants.

When We Energies announced the closing of their big power plant at Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, and needed to reduce staffing, they offered employees better severance benefits than their contract called for to entice them to retire early. Additionally, the remaining employees were offered employment at other We Energies facilities, in part because of language contained in their collective bargaining agreement.

However, no such retirement incentives or offers of employment have been forthcoming for the employees at Presque Isle. We have to wonder why We Energies holds such a double-standard when dealing with their some of their loyal U.P. employees?

To further add insult to injury, instead of allocating out employee’s contractual severance benefits in one lump sum to one week immediately after layoff, (which would allow the employees to collect unemployment benefits starting the next week), the company has chosen instead to spread the allocation out over a number of weeks and months, which effectively delays payment of unemployment benefits, and will relieve the company of paying some layoff benefits spelled out in the negotiated severance agreement.

For a company to turn its back on employees who have served them faithfully, some for over 30 years, is unconscionable.