PG&E QUARTERLY TARGETS INCREASE OVERTIME PRESSURES
LINE CLEARANCE TREE TRIMMER REPORT: NORTHERN AREA
We are saddened by the tragic on the job death of Davey Tree Surgery employee Carlos Amezcua on Sept. 28 in Pebble Beach.
A great deal of contractually-allowable mandatory overtime continues. Usually tree trimmers welcome overtime but a growing number are getting weary. Utility Tree has canceled all vacations in an effort to achieve the company’s quarterly circuit completion dates and earn the bonuses that PG&E ties to those completion dates. Almost all the tree trimming companies are using overtime at this time for the same reason. Whoever put deer season, duck season and minor holidays like Christmas at the end of these quarters did not take PG&E’s quarters into consideration.
The tree companies lose money on every tree they trim and if they do not get the bonuses their loses are great. If they get the bonuses they turn a small profit. Storm work and emergency work are not given consideration with regard to the circuit completion dates and awarding of bonuses. This work has a huge impact in areas such as the North Coast and Sierra. The tree companies’ pleas for consideration of this fact to PG&E fall on deaf ears. This arrangement was agreed to by the tree companies and is fueled by vigorous competition between the tree companies. The tree trimmers are victims of this system as reflected by their wages and benefits.
We have had success in returning several tree trimmers back to work with a couple of the largest tree trimming companies. We have been working to resolve issues before they become grievances. There are a few companies where the relationship remains unchanged and remains very challenging.
Wage progression issues have lessened but not disappeared.
Carl Lamers, Business Representative