LINE CLEARANCE TREE TRIMMER REPORT:
Most Tree Trimmers believe there will be layoffs due to “inventory reduction” and diversion of routine maintenance to “reliability work”. So far this has not happened as the signatory companies have successfully bid a majority of the “reliability work”, although they in turn subcontract some of the work to nonunion “minority” contractors.
Another problem arises when the prime contractors are awarded “reliability work” far from their yards and attempt to establish temporary yards exceeding the mileage limits in the agreements without paying subsistence, observing Article 5 language as it pertains to volunteers, seniority and rotation.
Wright Tree Services was awarded their first “prime” contract with PG&E doing transmission work with a yard in Oroville. There are 10 men working out of Oroville for Wright Tree service at this time and they look good with new equipment.
Martinez Utility Services was off PG&E property for about three weeks but is back doing “reliability work”. When they restarted it was with one half the workforce they had prior to the shutdown. The company is working hard to get enough work to bring everyone back.
Everyone we talked to on the contractor side is concerned that with the wet winter we just experienced, taking money from routine budgets and putting it into reliability work could backfire, no pun intended, because of an expected increase of growth or trees. Some expect to be doing almost exclusively “Hot Tags” by the end of August.
As reported several times in the past, “penciling” of trees by the tree companies and poles by Vegetation Control continues to be a big problem. PG&E is taking an unreasonable zero tolerance policy over an issue that many times, as we have said before, is clerical: work orders written by nonunion companies being impossible to understand, incorrect addresses and species. Just this week we had a crew Foreman terminated for writing f-bombs on work order because of his frustration in not being able to understand the work order. It is shameful that a man who has been doing tree work for 20+ years is being treated this way.
Information for this report was supplied by Carl Lamers and Junior Ornelas.