The Asplundh tree trimming companies have been taking advantage of the CPUC mandate to use minority contractors on PG&E. These companies use non-union Rolling Green and Mario’s Tree Service. These non-union contractors are allowed to work 6 to 7 days a week. This contractor pays sub-standard wages and substandard benefits. The Asplundh companies become the virtual company and issue the work to the non-union companies, in essence circumventing our union agreement on PG&E.
Davey Tree Surgery
We have begun negotiations at Turlock TID & Davey Tree Surgery. The membership is interested in changing their agreement to the PG&E type of agreement. We had negotiations Jan. 17. We held a Labor-Management meeting in Los Padres Division in San Luis Obispo on Jan. 11. Labor-Management meetings in Central Coast, East Bay, Mission, and Diablo are forthcoming. Los Padres and Diablo have run out of work, and have sent crews out to work in other areas. We have been told this should not last long.
As they did last year, Davey Tree Surgery has put the Humboldt Area contract out to bid. The bids were due Jan. 9. The company tells us they are still being considered by PG&E. This has caused no lack of heartache for our brothers in the Humboldt Area. As PG&E’s tree trimming practices have changed and altered the tree trimming environment, the price has remained relatively stable and not evolved. The smaller trees are mostly gone now and travel from one trim to another has increased. Clearance from conductors has increased dramatically and the trees are not trimmed until they are virtually or in fact burning with contact to the conductors.
What is characterized as falsification of documents remains a career breaker for a group of workers who deal with problems with understanding English and poorly written Work Orders that contain bad addressing, incorrect species and ever changing shorthand vernacular.
We have several open issues to resolve at Grievance Review Committee. We had an issue in Stockton regarding FMLA. Our members need to make certain that all parts of the application are completed prior to taking leave.
We held a negotiation meeting on Dec. 19, 2011. The company is proposing changes to the existing agreement and major changes to the medical plan. We held a negotiation meeting Jan. 5 in Sacramento. We had another negotiation meeting Jan. 19 in Vacaville. We expect future meeting dates.
We held a Grievance Review Committee on Dec. 19, 2011. We have a few open issues to resolve. We also have more grievances working thru the system. One of the biggest issues is the way the company scheduled a Foreman’s meeting during work hours and had all the rest of the employees start work one hour later. All Climbers, Apprentices, and Groundmen lost one hour pay. This matter is being grieved for all impacted members.
Those Tree Trimmer members that attended the Minority Caucus were very appreciative and impressed with the experience. They have been talking to their co-workers and it’s all good.
Our line clearance peer-to-peer safety group will be working on rolling out a safety program for our tree members system wide. The next peer-to-peer safety meeting will be on April 3.
We are planning a second Gold Cup Soccer Tournament, pending approval from the Executive Board. We are hoping to hold the tournament in Rippon, CA this year on May 12. Last year’s tournament was a huge success, generating solidarity and good will within the Local.