We began joint negotiations with all the Asplundh Companies (Asplundh Tree, Utility Tree, Tree Inc.) and Wright on Oct. 19 in Vacaville. We will resume those negotiations in December. There are several company proposals that have to be researched by the negotiating committee.
The Davey Tree Surgery master agreement has been re-negotiated for one year at a 2% general wage increase. There are two Davey stand-alone agreements for work on City of Santa Clara and Turlock Irrigation properties. Both agreements are in negotiations and terminate on Dec. 31, 2011
We have renegotiated tentative agreements with Mountain Firewood and Family. Both are one-year agreements with a general wage increase of 2%, and both are now in the ratification process.
We are currently working to re-negotiate the agreements with Skyline Tree and Windy Tree services. Both agreements terminate Dec. 31, 2011.
Grievance activity has picked up at an alarming rate at some of the tree companies. The companies are claiming a policy change that affects both employees on the crew. We will be challenging this policy.
Terminations are constant issues with Davey Tree. We are now planning Labor Management Meetings for East Bay and North Bay for November. Due to several matters we had to extend our October meeting date. We will be holding separate Labor Management Meetings for Mission Division, Central Coast, and Los Padres. We are expecting the company will be implementing new safety rules for all Davey Tree activity on PG&E property. We currently have 11 unresolved written grievances and several ongoing issues with local tree company supervisors.
Our Communications Director, Eric Wolfe, came out to Fresno and got footage of our members performing work in the mountains east of Fresno. This was Facility Protect R-3 removals with a line kill. PG&E crews assisted in getting this job completed. The video is now finished. Look for it on the IBEW 1245 website (www.ibew1245.com).
We will be holding a membership meeting for all members in Jackson.
In most areas there has been an unexpected increase in “Tree Forecast,” trees that require trimming. The tree companies operate with the barest minimum of employees so when the forecast increases the companies cancel vacations, mandate overtime and offer Saturday and Sunday work in order to stay on schedule, which is imperative. The canceling of vacations is hard for tree trimmers to understand. Many of them hunt and observe holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas which happen the same time of the year when the crunch is on regarding the forecasted trees. The tree companies have a range of responses from considering nonrefundable costs, deer tags, out of state hunting licenses, to little—if any—consideration.
Temporary Remote Yards have also caused considerable heartache with added cost of commuting and the time spent commuting. The more rural or mountainous, the more dislike for the temporary yards. This is made worse when a resident group is mandated to a remote yard and then people from another area come in and do the work in the home yard area. This practice is very demoralizing.
On a sad note, the funeral for our Brother Carlos Amezcua, Davey Tree Surgery, took place in Salinas, CA on Oct. 4. This was the second funeral for a Davey employee held in the same church in the last five years.
We are developing a “Hold the Pull” peer-to-peer safety program geared for Line Clearance Tree Trimmers. Business Rep. Dean Gurke is facilitating this project.