Southern Area Tree Report
Asplundh Tree Expert – Grievances have picked up in the Bay Area. The company announced changes with several General Foreman in the Peninsula & South Bay. The changes seem to be working out just fine. In San Joaquin crews have been moving around quite a bit due to the changing forecast. In Sacramento we had a Foremen lose a chipper on a u-turn; no one was injured. The company terminated the employee; we expect to file on his behalf. Unit attendance has stabilized since after the union agreement.
Trees Inc. – Grievance activity has picked up in San Joaquin and Fresno Divisions. Transmission Orchard work has opened up in the Modesto area. The Stockton crews have mobilized to work those circuits. Fresno crews are encountering heavy discipline directed towards foremen in Fresno. This includes terminations with more grievances to follow. Unit attendance has stabilized since after the contract ratification.
Davey Tree Surgery – Grievance activity is picking up due to issues we are encountering with local supervision. We are getting complaints of employees not acquiring their Line Clearance cards. This will be a topic at the next GRC. Unit attendance has stabilized since after the union ratification.
Negotiations – We will be preparing for negotiations with Mountain Enterprise in November. We will keep you posted.
Northern Area Tree Report
Executive Board member Mike Cottrell, Junior Ornelas, Carl Lamers, Richard Ingle and Ron Cochran, sadly attended the funeral for Rene Curiel in Santa Maria on Oct. 5. Rene was employed by Davey Tree Surgery and was in a fatal accident on Sept. 27. The funeral was attended by over 300 of Rene’s family, friends and co-workers.
This was an accident during a removal project at Canyon Dam, CA. Brother Curiel was felling a tree 28 inches in diameter and 108 feet long. As the tree went over it momentarily hung up on another tree putting a great deal of stress on that tree which broke off 25 feet from the ground. When the 67-foot long top with 18 inch diameter broke off it launched up the hill landing across the stump of the fell tree and 12 feet beyond, up the hill. When the crew found Curiel he was 6 feet up the hill from the stump of the felled tree and under the broke off top. This is under an OSHA investigation. Mr. Curiel was living in Santa Maria, CA and had worked for Davey for about 3 years.
We have addressed issues of incorrect pay rates for San Rafael Crews working in the East Bay with Davey Tree Surgery agreeing to pay the appropriate rate and back pay.
Penciling trees is less frequent but still catastrophic for the brother that in most cases has made a clerical mistake, as it usually results in termination.
There have been many questions from Davey Tree Surgery employees regarding the change to Lineco Medical Benefits about the level of benefits and enrollment. We have been working to make the transition as smooth as possible.
We have settled the “Sent Home after Storm Work” grievance with Wright Tree Service. The crew was sent home after working storm work, denying them the contractual right to work their normal scheduled day. The company has instituted a policy that requires employees to sign off if they choose to exercise their contractual right to go home after storm or emergency call out work. There was disagreement between the company and its employees over the circumstances that lead to the employees going home after storm work.
The Line Clearance Tree Trimmers in Humboldt County have demonstrated a great deal of interest in starting a “Tree Unit Meeting” in Eureka.
We are beginning planning for next year’s Soccer Tournament. This will be the third year for soccer. It doubled in participation from year one to year two. These tournaments are greatly appreciated by all the union members and their families who attend and the benefits of increased solidarity are huge.