As we all know, in current contract negotiations, PG &E proposed to contract clerical work and to lower the entire wage structure for the newly hired clerical worker. They say this will not affect current employees. I believe the company must think all clerical are worth less for this proposal to have ever been born. They say this has been done before. They say they must be more responsible with customer dollars. To lower wages, to contract our work, is the simple equivalent of saying to the clerical worker, “you are not important”.
The company can provide all the studies and benchmarks in the world, but the organizations of these studies are not PG&E. How can we be compared to other companies? I am absolutely positive the company would agree that we are incomparable. We are on our way to be the leading utility in the industry. Aren’t these two concepts in direct conflict with one another? How can PG&E be the leading utility, yet say to its hardest workers, “you are not important”?
In the midst of the recent terrible tragedy, our service reps, the front line, the face of PG&E are taking the toughest calls the company has ever had to face, possibly the toughest calls they may ever personally take. It’s not only the executives who are answering difficult questions during pre-scheduled press conferences, but it’s also our service reps who are answering our customer’s fears 24 hours a day. Yet they say, “you are not important”.
Let’s not forget, but put aside this horrendous tragedy for one minute. Let’s talk about Smart Meter, Rancho Cordova, and bankruptcy. Let’s talk about our incredibly complicated, ever-changing rate structure. What about summer heat storms and long winter outages? These service reps have the power to answer these questions. They have the power to let our customers know we are doing the right thing. Their jobs depend on it. The company depends on it. Yet they say, “you are not important”.
Whenever there is a crisis, we, union clerical as well as physical, always step up and make things work. That’s who we are, that’s what we do. I love that about this company I am a proud to be an IBEW local 1245 member and PG&E employee. I strongly believe, during these times, we must stick together; the union and the company must work as a team. The company must do the right thing and not take away but give back, give back respect and gratitude to its hardest workers. We are constantly striving to change our culture for the better. What kind of culture is created by lowering wages and contracting work? This is how we become more responsible with our customer dollars; by working together and treating our union clerical workers as if they are important. Because they are.