DAVEY MEETING EXAMINES OPERATING LOSSES
Tree Report – Northern Area
Davey Tree Surgery — The company has proposed a one-year contract extension with the only change being a two percent wage increase. No increase in the cost of benefits to employees, subject to a ratification vote. We have been making the rounds to the yards explaining the proposal and encouraging a strong vote whether for or against to have a credible mandate going forward.
At a recent company-sponsored meeting in Santa Rosa, the company explained that they were operating at a substantial loss in the Santa Rosa area for several years. The company solicited ideas to increase production. The ideas ranged from more ATVs to more respectful attitude from local management.
The company explained they felt the biggest problem was tree density, the distance between trims. In the past, one span would commonly contain ten to twenty. Now the crews may have only one trim per span and have to travel several spans to the next trim, necessitating separate set ups for signs, rescue and safety equipment, plus fire-fighting gear—resulting in huge losses of production time.
Another issue is the old one mentioned here before of the “work requests.” The absolute inaccuracy of the work requests regarding species, addresses, permission, and bad combinations for gates are all tremendous production killers. There are numerous reports of bad addresses being referred back to the nonunion foresters for clarification with the author being unable to locate the job site.
Another issue is that PG&E specifications demand only trees that will be out of compliance within 12 months not 15, 14 or 13 months. This is dependant on predicting tree growth, which is difficult, if not impossible, due to the many variables involved in tree growth.
The last issue that comes to mind is a game changer. The VMII program has reduced the number of small trees being trimmed. That, combined with the 12-month compliance rule, means that most trees are very close to “burning” by the time they are listed which results in much more time invested in trimming and cleanup. Simply put price has not kept pace with the evolving line clearance tree trimming environment.
Asplundh Tree Expert — We are preparing to bargain with Asplundh Tree Expert and its subsidiaries: Trees Inc. and Utility Tree Service. Also joining in is Wright Tree Service. We are gathering proposals and getting our bargaining committees together. We are working on dates to meet with companies at this time.