Dear Local 1245 Member at PG&E,
Inside this special edition of the Utility Reporter you will find the complete text of our tentative agreement with PG&E for a new three-year Physical agreement and a new three-year Benefits agreement. You will also find summaries of the two agreements.
On approximately June 20th we will mail you a ballot. Ballots will be counted on July 25, so please return yours by then.
After the historic turn-out and strong rejection of the company’s November offer, we went back to the drawing board. We surveyed our members to identify causes of concern, and conducted seven extensive focus groups with members specifically on the medical insurance issue. With the information and understanding that we gained from the surveys and focus groups, we returned to the table.
The agreement that you are now being asked to vote on is different from the previous package in several ways.
It is a tentative table agreement, while the last vote was on a combination of tentative agreements and company proposals.
Your negotiating committee remained neutral on the last, best, and final offer from November, but recommends this package.
As for the agreement itself, there are changes in major issues.
Regular Clerical and Physical Employees – Benefits
Pension: There are two major changes in the proposed pension. First, the Company agrees that it will not in any future negotiations seek to transition current employees to the cash balance plan except in the event of serious and substantial changes in the law. Second, the company added a sixth band to the contribution level for employees with combined age and service of 80 or greater. The comparability of the proposed cash balance plan as modified with the current final-pay plan was verified by the Segal Company, a national union-side actuary.
Medical: The combination of free services, HRA, deductible, and maximum out of pocket remains, with changes in each. Seven free medications for mental health treatment were added, as well as an improved benefit for outpatient behavioral health treatment. The amount placed in an employee’s HRA has been increased through incentives. If an employee takes a short health risk assessment and is tobacco free or completes a tobacco cessation program, the Company will contribute enough into the HRA to pay the entire deductible. Further, low-wage employees will receive an additional $500 a year in their HRA. Lastly, the Company has agreed that for nine years the deductible, out-of-pocket maximum, HRA amount, and percentage of coinsurance will not change — an unprecedented guarantee of stability in plan design.
Regular and Hiring Hall Physical Employees
CDL: The Company has agreed that the $.29 an hour premium will be applied to an additional 2,000 employees who have and use CDL’s but who are not now receiving the annual $600 CDL premium.
Meals: All Company proposals on meals are off the table. The Company will immediately suspend the requirement of an itemized receipt and the contractual menu restrictions on all meals of $30.00 or less. All meals issues will be referred to a committee. If that committee can’t reach agreement, meals issues may be referred to arbitration.
LA 10-36: This agreement immediately suspends Letter Agreement 10-36. Safety discipline issues will be referred to a committee. If there is no resolution, the matter may be referred to arbitration or the union may cancel the Letter Agreement.
The wage proposal for the physical bargaining unit remains at 2.75% for all three years, retroactive to 1/1/12. While this is a historically low wage increase, it remains equal to or better than any other wage settlement at a west coast utility and for this year at least exceeds the increase in the consumer price index.
If our members reject this package, all existing benefits and contract terms will continue through 2012. We will return to the table in the fall for negotiations for a new agreement that would go into effect in 2013. In late 2012 either party could then serve notice to terminate the agreement on December 31, which would make a strike or a lock-out in the Physical unit, and/or imposition of the company’s new offer possible, if unlikely.
At a very difficult time in our country’s economic and financial history, this agreement is quite progressive. We believe that it merits your consideration and a yes vote.
Tom Dalzell, Business Manager