November 9, 2021
Dear Mr. Denault:
First, thank you for taking time out of your day to review this memo. I know you are a busy man, but I felt it was paramount to write you directly. I’ll start off by introducing myself; my name is Brian Erwin, and I am the Business Manager for IBEW Local 647. I represent close to 1,000 people across the state of Arkansas and administer three different contracts in all bargaining unit classifications. I hired into Entergy as an I&C Technician at ANO and fell in love with the people and the plant.
We find ourselves in strange and difficult times. The current labor shortage in America is the next pandemic. Everywhere you look, you see “Help Wanted” signs and businesses unable to maintain a high volume due to lack of staff. Entergy is no different. Every department throughout the company is understaffed and overworked – both bargaining and non-bargaining. The company must come up with new and innovative ways to recruit new talent while maintaining the talent already employed with Entergy.
Historically, what has discouraged labor from leaving companies for its competitors has been generous pensions. I understand the business model currently across the country has been to eliminate these long-term commitments, but I think it has been to the detriment of employers’ own self-interest. Specifically at Entergy, it has created an environment where employees no longer feel the safe, familial connection they used to feel in the past. The overwhelming opinion of the employees is: why be loyal to a company not loyal to me?
Mr. Denault, the Board of Directors and you could change this trajectory. IBEW Local 647 completed negotiations with the company on two contracts over the summer, but there is still some unfinished business. The company has proposed going to a 401K-only solution, and we believe this is the wrong direction for future talent acquisition. We proposed an Annuity/401K Mix which would be closer to the traditional pension plan without the long-term commitment the company is wishing to avoid. We also proposed rolling the Money Market Retirement Plan participants into the IBEW Retirement Plan with overwhelming support from the plan participants. We feel this would be the best option for sustaining trained, invested employees short of returning to a traditional pension option.
To preserve the talent within your company, you must give your employees the anticipation of a goal, purpose for their time and labor, and reason to invest that with you. I think we all daydream of our future and imagine days we can sit on our front porch with loved ones and not have the burden of worry regarding our financial viability after a long career. You and the Board have the power to return that dream to all the loyal, hard-working individuals dedicating themselves to the success of this company. I implore you to direct the Total Rewards Group to move ahead with the option of an IBEW Retirement Plan and return that dream of successful retirement to the thousands of people no longer holding a traditional pension plan.
I would love to speak with you directly on the concerns associated with labor and the future success of Entergy. I am a true believer in the cooperative spirit between organized labor and employers. I consider IBEW Local 647 as leading the pack in its commitment as demonstrated with the implementation of and dedication to the Code of Excellence Program which we initiated in 2015. I believe you understand our commitment to the success of Entergy through our actions and the successful partnership we have developed across all business groups throughout the company. Thank you for taking the time and giving this matter the attention it truly deserves.
IBEW Local 647
We, the Business Mangers of IBEW Locals 750, 1439, and 1703, have reviewed this letter and would like to add our fervent endorsement in solidarity of the content therein. Please consider our signatures below as our additional urgence of your consideration in this issue.