We are still gathering information for cell phones & E-mail addresses. We are doing great with over 60% completion. We need assistance from everyone in order to complete this huge undertaking. Many members have dropped their home phones and we have no way to communicate with them. Communication is the key to building strength with our membership. We have negotiations at the end of this year! We plan on launching a Facebook page for our Tree Trimmer and Vegetation Control members. We are also in the planning stages for a soccer and softball tournament and possibly a clay shoot.
On Jan. 25 we held a two-day Business Representative and Shop Steward training for line clearance tree trimming, with a focus on “Grievance Handling.” It was a great success and we hope to hold more training in the future.
Northern Area Report
A Vegetation Control employee who was returned to work by agreement between the company and the union discovered that his Lineco benefit had not been restored as required in the Return-to-Work Agreement. After several calls the problem was resolved and he is back on Lineco. This situation would have been resolved much sooner if the employee had read his check stub, which he did not do until his wife’s much-needed diabetes medication refill was denied due to lack of coverage.
Several back pay issues with Trees Inc. late progressions were resolved.
Davey Tree Surgery
Davey was awarded the Humboldt portion of the North Coast Line Clearance Tree Trimming contract with PG&E. This was a great relief to the Humboldt work group.
The loss of medical benefits whenever someone is off work on Workers Compensation appears to be automatic at Davey. We have to deal with this by contacting the company, which then fixes the problem. It appears to be an internal communication problem within the company. We have put a great deal of effort in securing extended Medical Leaves of Absence for a Davey employee amounting to over one year. The company has been cooperative. This employee returned to work recently with improved health.
Equipment issues are a major complaint of the work force. While the company has assured the union they believe their employees must have good and proper equipment to be productive, the complaints continue. There appears to a communication problem somewhere between headquarters and the field. We have repeatedly delivered the message that equipment issues must be documented if there is to be a reasonable expectation that they will be addressed.
Asplundh & Subsidiaries
The new Lineco rate as of Jan. 1, 2011 is $5 per hour worked. For the Asplundh Tree Expert Company and its subsidiaries—Trees Inc. and Utility Trees Service—this is a $.25 per hour increase. There was an agreement that the company and membership would split the increase for 2011. The company implemented the membership contribution by reducing the hourly rate by $.12 per hour affecting overtime, pension and future wage increases. After some discussion the company agreed to restore the wage rate and make the Lineco contribution a line item deduction.
Southern Area Report
Asplundh Tree Expert
We have an open grievance held over from last year. We already have new grievances in the system for 2011. The company is paying close attention to production where the crew should have trimmed more trees on a given day. This seems to be the issue in the Bay Area.
Davey Tree Surgery
We held a Labor Management meeting in Dublin, CA on Dec. 29, 2010. All open matters were discussed. We are now current on all grievances. Overtime work has halted in the East Bay, Diablo, Mission, Central Coast and Los Padres Divisions. All crews are working 8-hour shifts. Interesting enough the company is still performing 2010 work.
The company was successful in retaining the Humboldt Division for 2011. What we don’t know is at what cost! Due to the company losing the Ukiah contract several employees left the area in order to stay with the company. Family Tree was the successful bidder at Ukiah.
Davey Tree had an OSHA hearing in Oakland on Jan. 11, 2011. This was regarding the Lucas fatality that took place in Santa Cruz on Jan. 3, 2008. The company was cited for three safety-related violations per OSHA. The hearing is being continued. All witnesses are being required to testify. We plan on attending the remaining hearings.
We are planning on holding a GRC in February. We have a termination case to review with the committee. The date and location is to be determined. We are trying to generate interest in holding a monthly meeting with Wright Tree. This is to be determined.
Information for this report was supplied by Business Representatives Carl Lamers and Junior Ornelas and Senior Assistant Business Manager Ron Cochran.