IBEW Local 1245 will soon be asking its members at PG&E to vote on a proposed two-year extension of the physical and clerical agreements, providing for a 3% wage increase for 2020 and a 3% general wage increase for 2021. No other changes would be made to the basic agreements, although the parties can and will continue with the practice of interim negotiations.
It’s no secret that PG&E’s current and future financial situation is extremely volatile. PG&E’s stock has fallen 46% since the fires in the fall of 2017, meaning that its total worth or market capitalization has fallen from about $36 billion to about $21 billion. CalFire’s reports on the cause and origin of the fires have continued to drive the stock price down and to introduce great uncertainty, and the reports are not done. The CalFire report on the Tubbs fire, which is the single most destructive wildfire in California history, has yet to be released.
It is always our goal to provide our members with as much stability as possible, particularly during times of uncertainty. Given the fact that our current collective bargaining agreement with PG&E expires in 2019, and knowing that the instability and financial pressures on the company are likely to increase between now and then, we approached PG&E to discuss the possibility of a contract extension. The company responded this week by offering a two-year extension to the current contract, which would include a 3% general wage increase in each of the two years, with no changes to the current collective bargaining agreement. View the letter agreement here.
We believe that approving such an extension immediately would give our members wage security and peace of mind in these increasingly precarious times. Additionally, extending the contract would enable the union to focus its resources on the many critical issues we’re facing – such as investment in building a more resilient energy infrastructure that can better withstand extreme weather events; changing the state’s strict liability law that holds utilities liable for any fire that involves their equipment; protecting and enhancing our members’ jobs; and defending the contractual protections that our members have earned and deserve.
We are looking to act quickly on this contract extension. The union will be providing additional information, including an FAQ, to members in the coming weeks, and we are working to get ratification ballots out as soon as possible.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your business rep or myself.