Line Clearance Tree Trimmers
Line Clearance Tree Trimmers have ratified an historic Master Agreement that puts all IBEW Local 1245 members at the major tree contractors under the same agreement.
The vote was 447-98 to accept the agreement.
Achieving the groundbreaking Master Agreement has been a long-time goal of the union because it gives Line Clearance Tree Trimmers a unified front and greater power in future contract negotiations. Senior Assistant Business Manager Ron Cochran led the negotiations that culminated in the mail-ballot ratification, counted on Sept. 14.
The agreement —which applies to members at Davey Tree, Asplundh Tree, Utility Tree, Wright Tree, and Trees Inc.—assures gains for all Line Clearance Tree Trimmers during the 5-year term of the agreement.
In general, the Master Agreement:
- Secures wages for 5 years, with 10% to 14% wage increases over the term, including adjustments tied to the Consumer Price Index in Years 4 and 5.
- Provides a high-quality Lineco/Blue Cross medical plan at all major IBEW-represented Line Clearance companies—with no monthly contribution by employees—and protects family medical coverage even when a different tree contractor wins the bid to do the work.
- Secures the IBEW 1245 Money Purchase Pension Plan, with company contributions equaling 3% of employee’s annual wage.
- Provides annual Safety Bonus Award equal to 1% of employee’s salary, paid quarterly.
The union made a major effort to make sure that all 1,005 of its tree trimmers had an opportunity to learn details of the historic agreement before voting on it.
Business Representatives Carl Lamers and Junior Ornelas—utilizing bi-lingual materials—informed members about the merits of the Master Agreement through unit meetings, special meetings, and extensive yard visits. They were assisted by temporary Business Representatives Justin Casey and John Simms. Three special events were held in Vacaville, Fresno, and Santa Rosa to give members and their families an additional opportunity to learn more about the agreement.
IBEW 1245 staff members Fred Ross, Eileen Purcell, Liz McInnis and Ralph Armstrong worked with tree trimmer leaders to recruit and train a 42-member “Yes Committee” to encourage member participation in the ratification vote. The “Yes Committee” met twice at Weakley Hall, where they discussed the historic significance of the agreement with Cochran and Business Manager Tom Dalzell.
“This is an historic agreement, which makes it possible for us to negotiate better working conditions, wages and benefits for our members in the trees, who do some of the most hazardous and difficult work in our union,” Dalzell said after the ratification vote was counted. “It was also an unprecedented, broad-based outreach effort led by staff and the Vote Yes committee.”
Dalzell called the ratification of the Master Agreement “a great day for IBEW 1245.”