OUTSIDE CONSTRUCTION REPORT: NEW ORGANIZER
Elizabeth McInnis is working fulltime as a Construction Organizer/Compliance Officer, recently working on projects in the Avenal, CA, area, Livermore Labs and with several construction contractors affiliated to Outside electrical work in some way. Elizabeth recently attended the National Labor College for a weeklong new organizers training course in Silver Spring, MD.
Ralph Armstrong and Elizabeth McInnis both attended the IBEW Ninth District Fundamentals of Organizing, December 8-11th in Sacramento, CA.
We recently negotiated two new contracts with TTR. This was a top-down organizing effort. These contracts cover substation inspection, line inspection and relay testing types of work.
There have been several PLA’s signed recently in lieu of term contracts. PLA’s serve a short term purpose to help with the trenching, civil and concrete contractors that are subcontracting as 2nd or 3rd tier contractor to our signatory line contractor. Pacific Coast Drilling, Underground Construction, RE McCollum and Reno Tahoe Construction have recently been signed to PLA’s. We are working to sign up several others. We are expecting a large volume of organizing when the PLA between PG&E and IBEW Local 1245 is completed in 2009.
We also started a campaign for the utility workers from Livermore Labs. There are about a 170 trade workers
working on the lab property. There are around 35 electrical workers between the high voltage and low voltage shops at the lab. However, we found out that Communications Workers of America had already begun a campaign to organize this group. We withdrew our filing with the National Labor Relations Board pending the outcome of the CWA campaign.
Injured Workers Fund
The Injured Worker Fund our Outside Line members voted on is doing well, especially with the increase in work our members have been experiencing the last couple of months. Each member contributes 5 cents for each hour they work. We started funding the plan in October 2007. We have made several payouts in 2008, as members needed them. We finished the year with over $30,000 in reserve.
Shop Stewards Training/Pin Dinner
Shop Steward training has been scheduled to start at 8:00 am on Feb. 28 at Ronald Weakley Hall in Vacaville and will last all day. The training will open with a performance by Ian Ruskin, who is known for his portrayal of heroes of labor, including Harry Bridges. We are currently updating an older version of the IBEW Shop Stewards Manual. The Pin Dinner will be held in Sacramento that evening for members that are due to receive their pins. There will also be Pin Dinners scheduled in Reno, Fresno, and Bakersfield for Outside Line members to attend.
NCCCO Crane Training
There is a NCCCO crane class scheduled for the week of March 2 at Ronald Weakley Hall in Vacaville. This class is limited to 30 Outside Line Construction members who have the operating of cranes in their job descriptions. In the state of California as well as 16 other states you are required by law to have this crane certification for operating Mobile cranes having a boom length of less than 25 feet or a maximum rated load capacity of less than 15,000 lbs, digger derricks excluded (California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 5006.1. Mobile Crane and Tower Crane-Operator Qualifications and Certification.) This is on a first come first serve basis and is provided by the Cal-Nev JATC.
We just completed re-negotiating the Eppler & Eppler, Inc. contract. There was a general wage increase for all classifications of 3.75% for each year. Health and welfare benefits remain the same. The term of this contract is three years. The contract was ratified with 100% “YES” vote. We are scheduled to start negotiations with Canus Cooperation in January of 2009. We are scheduled to start negotiations with MMRI in January of 2009. The current Outside Line Agreement is set to expire on May 31 of this year. At our unit meetings we have been encouraging our members to submit their proposals to the unit chair for the last year now. Starting in February we are planning to go over those proposals and put together a negotiating committee with our sights set on a March time frame for negotiations with NECA. We are encouraging all our members to be a part of this process.
Starting January 1, 2009, the daily subsistence pay of $40 our Outside members receive goes up to $50. This is a result of a CIR decision and subsequent Letter of Understanding.
January 12 & 13, Riverside, Ca. the Safety Book (red book) used by the Outside Construction group will be reviewed for accuracy of current rules and laws and changes will be made in a continual effort to keep this document up to date. Committee members assigned to this review consist of three union staff members from Locals 1245 & 47 and three safety officers from three different NECA contractors.
PG&E Construction Work Slowdown
On Dec. 19, 2008 the majority of our Outside Line contractors working on projects for PG&E were told to make their jobs safe and take off until January 5, 2009. There have been very few projects that were spared from this request and a large majority of our workforce has been home through the holidays. We have been told that PG&E plans to re-evaluate the current projects that have been awarded and prioritize these jobs based on need and funding. We are almost certain that some of these jobs will be pulled back from our contractors due to funding. We should know more about PG&E’s plans by the end of January.
We currently have 291 Outside Line apprentices in the Cal-Nev JATC program. We have 5 working out of the jurisdiction; 64 are working out of Local 1245; 188 are working out of Local 47; 6 apprentices are working out of Local 396; 33 are off work. Sixty-five apprentices have graduated to Journeyman Lineman. We have indentured 47 Outside Line apprentices year to date. We are planning to hold more interviews in the third week of January 2009.
The committee met on 12/9/08 and held 10 official subcommittee hearings and one unofficial. The committee asked for four resignations. Reasons vary from no driver’s licenses, absenteeism, not qualified after repeated attempts to tutor up to the step qualifications. The Apprentice Linemen Graduation Dinner will be held in Ontario, CA on Jan. 24. All 2008 graduates will be invited to attend. Cal-Nev JATC sponsors this event.
The Trustee’s met on Dec. 10, 2008 for their quarterly meeting. Large losses were presented due to the state of the economy and stock market investment portfolio. Traffic Signal: We have 30 traffic signal apprentices. Nine are working in Local 1245 and 20 are working in Local 47. We have indentured four this year.
We have one written pending Grievance against Abbett Electric over pay issues. We have seven pending oral grievances with H&M over pay issues.
We are running compliance on four different projects at this time. We were made aware that one of our signatory contractors has completed one project and is in the middle of another, which is covered under the scope of our agreement. They have failed to report working fees or use the referral system for either. We are working with Jenny Marston in obtaining payroll documents for these projects.
Dispatch Summary for 2008
Book 1: 398
Book 2: 392
Book 3: 15
Book 4: 93
Short calls: 161
Line Equipment Man Referrals
Book 1: 25
Book 2: 60
Book 3 27
Book 4 0
Short calls: 14
Book 1: 112
Book 2: 32
Book 3: 11
Book 4: 65
Short calls: 44
Cable Splicer Referrals
Book 1: 4
Book 2: 3
Book 3 9
Book 4 1
Short calls: 4
Apprentice Lineman Referrals
Step 1: 69
Step 2: 30
Step 3 18
Step 4 24
Step 5 22
Step 6 27
Step 7 32
Short calls: 7
Street Light Maintenance Worker Referrals
Total : 13
Information for this report provided by Ralph Armstrong, Elizabeth McInnis and Ron