North Bay Fire Storm Work
In early October, a series of fires broke out in the North Bay that has left the region devastated. Since then, focus has been on restoration and trying to return some sense of normalcy to the area. As of October 19, there are 54 contract crews, as well as crews from other utilities, assisting in Mutual Aid.
Many of the contract crews working in the area were already working in our jurisdiction before the fires struck, however, some came from outside of the area under the National Emergency Response Agreement. This agreement was put in place to provide emergency assistance following big storms, with guidelines on how wages and benefits are paid during this time. For this agreement to work as intended, all contractors and members need to notify the Local Union of the number of crews coming in, as well as provide names and social security numbers of those members. There are a few that do this automatically, however others do not, and we find ourselves trying to track down and obtain this information.
We want to thank all of these crews — as well as the ones who continue to work on the many other projects that cannot be stopped — for their professionalism in getting this work done safely and in a timely fashion.
Work has been steady with no end in sight any time soon, and this has been the case for several months now, even before the recent fire storms. We have been running open calls for Journeyman linemen for several months, as well as Operators and Fab Techs. The recent storms back east and the increase in the amount of work for linemen all across the country is resulting in a real shortage of linemen. When we see shortages like this, we need to do our due diligence in ensuring that the workers we get have the credentials and experience to do this work safely and with the quality we demand.
Local 1245’s Outside Line Busiess Representatives have all been busy giving safety orientations and doing jobsite and yard visits. The safety orientation program was implemented several years ago, and is a requirement for anyone wishing to take a call from Local 1245. The orientation is designed to lay out our expectations of those wishing to work in our jurisdiction, as well as potential consequences for working unsafely.
Much of the distribution work has moved to the San Jose and South San Francisco area. Due to the high cost of living there, the contractors are doing what they must to keep the hands in this area.
In addition to the many projects that are being contracted there are few other projects to note:
- Abercrombie Pipeline has completed the tower line project at the Oroville Dam. They are currently ramping down and have started to lay off crews.
- The trailer park project has now been extended through 2018.
- Balfour Beatty’s rail project, was supposed to start this past summer, has been delayed but we hear that they will be putting in calls in December or January for 10 to 12 workers. The project will start in San Francisco and San Jose. We are expecting 40 to 50 members at the peak on this job.
- PAR’s tower painting is starting to slow. PAR is down to four crews along with the two PG&E crews. PAR is projecting they will ramp up again in February to 10, and grow to 15 crews. PG&E says they will have six to eight crews also working in the area.
Newman has all but finished their 4-25kv cut over work in Sparks. They are still waiting on a 1200 amp panel to complete that project.
Titan Reno has picked up some work for Liberty Utilities in NLT. They will have work for an undetermined length of time on T&E projects.
Titan WY is close to ¾ completion with their 4-25kv cut over in Sparks.
Cache Valley Electric is almost finished with the Chukar substation in Storey County at the Tahoe Regional Industrial Park. CVE is starting the Mason Valley substation, and they will be porting in 10 guys or so for this project. They requested three apprentice linemen, which our JATC couldn’t provide, so they will bring some in from Local 57.
Wasatch still has all the doc hands in Elko, Yerington, Winnemucca, Reno, and Carson City. They are also moving along on the 120KV line from Smith Valley to Mason Valley — 17 miles and 300 structures with distribution underbuilt. They have currently brought in nine workers under portability, so one more and they will need to call the union hall. They are working six 10-hour days.
Summit Line has been awarded the Smith Valley substation, and began work on August 21 with one Lineman and three Fab Techs. Summit was also awarded a pole replacement/re-conductor project on the west shore of Lake Tahoe near Bliss State Park. The job is to re-conductor approximately four to five miles of 14.4KV distribution, and replace 35-40 structures. It will be completed in late October. They called 10 groundmen for hand digging the inaccessible locations, which is now complete.
PAR Electric has two crews in Lake Tahoe — one in the north and one in the south — doing T&E doc work seven days a week. They also have one crew in Reno doing miscellaneous projects at Switch, Apple and NV Energy.
DUES INCREASE FOR “A” MEMBERS IN 2018
Effective January, 2018, “A” member dues will increase by $1, from $37 to $38. The initiation fee for “A” member linemen will also increase by $1, from $89 to $90. All other “A” classification initiation fees will increase to $65 from $64. There is no dues increase for “BA” members in 2018
At the members’ request, Local 1245 has started to laminate union dues receipts for members who pay six months or more in advance.
TENTATIVE AGREEMENT FOR POLE TEST AND TREAT
IBEW 1245’s negotiating committee just wrapped up negotiations with the Pole Test and Treat group (Osmose and Davey). The negotiations took place over a couple of sessions, and will be brought out for the members to vote on in the coming weeks.
If the members vote to approve this five-year agreement:
- All members will receive the full allotment of vacation. Previously, only the Foreman, Foreman Trainees and Senior Technicians were entitled to paid vacation up to three weeks, and everyone else — specifically the treatment and restoration technicians — only had three days of personal leave. At Osmose, the crews are usually one foreman to four technicians, which means the majority of the members there have not been getting the full allotment. It is hard to put a value on this enhancement for those members, but it is huge, and was one of the main items our members wanted to see changed.
- The scope will be expanded to all public sector properties — as this is prevailing wage work and benefits the members when working on those properties — so their current health care and retirements can remain the same.
- Members will receive general wage increases of 1% in 2018, 1.75% in 2019, 1.75% in 2020, and then the CPI formula with the minimum/maximum equation for 2021 and 2022.
- In 2019, NEAP will increase by $.25. There has not been a NEAP increase in at least 13 years.
- The companies will pick up the $.25 that the members are currently paying for Lineco health insurance, plus an additional $.25 during the term of the agreement. We know Lineco will increase again in 2018, but believe it will stabilize after that.
The CalNEV JATC hasn’t accepted new applications for almost two years due to the overwhelming number of applicants who applied last time, and the number of available applicants in the pool that are ready and available to start when the need for new apprentices arises. The JATC should be looking at opening up the application process again sometime after the first of the year. They are currently waiting on DOL to approve a new requirement to apply for the program, which will require all applicants to have a CDL License at the time the application is submitted. People who are interested in applying should check with the CalNEV JATC website www.calnevjatc.org on a regular basis to keep tabs on when it will be opened again.
First Aid & CPR training is the second Saturday of every month at our Riverside and Sacramento locations.
INJURED WORKERS FUND
Two (2) disability payments claims were filed and paid in the month of August.
The Injured Workers Fund was set-up for on-the-job injuries. If you were recently injured on the job that has left you unable to work for 10 or more days, you may be eligible. To request a claim form, please ask one of your Outside Line Business Representatives or email Liz McInnis at EJMH@ibew1245.com.