Sickout staged by utility workers

first_imgBURBANK – Nearly all of Burbank Water and Power union electrical workers called in sick Thursday, in what officials called an outbreak of “blue flu” spurred by a continuing impasse in contract negotiations. Some 150 line crew members, electricians and workers in communications in the power plant and dispatch shop called in sick – out of a total electrical union workforce of about 160 – about 8 a.m., leading officials to enact contingency plans to keep power going to 45,000 homes and 6,000 businesses. “I’m not pleased that there’s been this kind of action while we’re still at the negotiating table,” said Burbank City Manager Mary Alvord. “Sure I’m disappointed. This is serious business. A lot of people in this city could be put at risk.” No power was disrupted, but some work orders scheduled for Thursday had to be canceled, including work on Media Studios North business park buildings where some 700 Yahoo! employees are expected to start moving in Monday, said Ron Davis, BWP’s general manager. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “It’s an inconvenience to the community,” said Davis. “It’s not like it took anyone’s power out. For one day, it’s not the end of the world. But once you go past 24 hours, I have a difficult time continuing operations.” Leaders of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 did not return repeated calls for comment. One worker, who declined to be identified, said the work action was voluntary and was not sanctioned by the union. “This did not happen, as far as the union’s concerned,” said the worker. “Each member took it upon themselves to call in sick. We’re trying to make a statement. We take great pride in our work.” Union members, he said, are expected to vote on a contract proposal next Wednesday, but he is doubtful it will be approved. “We don’t want to strike,” he said. “We enjoy our jobs. We enjoy working for the city.” Some 1,000 city employees have been working without a contract since July. Union leaders are asking for an increase in pension benefits. Union workers currently get 2 percent of their annual salary times the number of years they’ve worked when they retire at age 55. They want 2.5 percent, which would boost the average annual pension from $14,600 to $20,000. Boosting pensions would help attract and retain workers in a competitive job market, union leaders say. The proposed pension increase would boost pension costs $1.7 million a year, said Judie Sarquiz, the city’s management services director. The city’s total annual payroll for the 1,000 employees covered by three unions – the Burbank City Employees Association, the Burbank Managers Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 – is about $61 million a year, she said. Jason Kandel, (818) 546-3306 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Joe Allen hails ‘talisman’ Gareth Bale as Wales look for swing in momentum

first_imgShare on WhatsApp Gareth Bale says he is very happy to be called ‘the golfer’ at Real Madrid Read more news Real Madrid Share via Email Gareth Bale Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Walescenter_img Share on Messenger The Observer Joe Allen has hailed Gareth Bale as a “superstar” and believes the Welshman will continue to deliver for Real Madrid in the same way he does for his country.Bale came to Wales’ rescue against Azerbaijan with a late winner that kept alive hopes of qualifying automatically for Euro 2020 and provided a timely reminder of his ability to influence games. It was Bale’s 32nd international goal and followed the double he scored for Real Madrid against Villarreal last Sunday, earning a point for the club who had been keen to sell him in the summer. European club football “He’s done it time and time before and thankfully he’s turned up for us again,” Allen said. “We’re always grateful to have someone like him in our team. This is the reason why he’s been our talisman for years and he’ll keep being that.”Asked whether his teammate’s crucial contribution in Friday’s 2-1 victory served as another reminder to Madrid, Allen replied: “It’s never been in doubt for me and it never will be. I’ve had the honour of playing with him for years and he’s a superstar. There’s no doubt about that. He got two goals on the weekend [for Madrid], he’s back playing for them and he’ll do for them what he does for us all the time.“He always looks quality when he turns up for us. It’s about those big moments. He’s a threat for 90 minutes of course, but over the years there’s been countless times when he’s done that for us. If we’ve got aspirations of qualifying from this group, then they are the sort of moments we are going to need for him to provide.”The sight of Bale scoring when it matters has become a familiar theme for his country. Even though there was disappointment when a late free-kick hit the wall against Azerbaijan, there was still a sense that Bale would come up with something to dig Wales out of a hole.“Everyone expected that free-kick to go in,” Neil Taylor said. “But he’s [later] leapt up well above the keeper and got a good goal. He’s got a habit of popping up, he’s got a couple of goals for Real Madrid last week and he’s finding form.“You have to look at the situation at Real Madrid and how it has gone. He’s that good they have had to bring him back into the fold. He can affect football matches in a couple of seconds and he showed that [on Friday].”Wales host Belarus in a friendly on Monday, but the main focus for the players will now be on next month’s qualifying double header away against Slovakia and Croatia. Although Wales were poor against Azerbaijan, Allen believes it could be a turning point.“Maybe it’s the swing in terms of momentum, and maybe that little bit of luck as well,” the midfielder added. “Look at the campaign we qualified in [to reach Euro 2016] and we rode our luck at times. Hopefully it’s a good sign of what’s to come.” Share on Pinterest Topics Euro 2020 qualifying Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Woman charged for aiding illegal entries at popular QuebecUS crossing

first_imgMONTREAL — Canada’s border protection agency has charged a woman in connection with organizing illegal entries into Canada through a popular rural crossing in southern Quebec.A charge was laid against Olayinka Celestina Opaleye Wednesday at the courthouse in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, south of Montreal.She is charged under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for facilitating the entry of asylum seekers into Canada through Roxham Road in exchange for compensation. The charges were laid following an investigation carried out by Canada Border Services Agency.The agency alleges that in the summer of 2017, Opaleye arranged for the entry of “several individuals” into Canada, acting as part of a network of smugglers who organized their travel.According to Canadian government figures, there were 19,419 irregular crossings in Canada in 2018, more than 18,500 of them through the Quebec crossing at Roxham Road. That figure was slightly down from 2017, when there were 20,593 crossings, including a notable spike beginning in July of that year.Dominique McNeely, an agency spokesman, said the woman was charged under a section of the law that covers human trafficking of a group of 10 or more. A conviction under the section can result in a fine of up to $1 million or life imprisonment.McNeely said it is not the first time charges have been pursued against alleged human traffickers at the popular Quebec-New York border crossing. No further information was available on the case Wednesday. It returns to court Mar. 27.The Canadian Presslast_img read more