When assessing the work picture for the remainder of the year, not much has changed from previous assessments over the last couple of months, except we are now running double-digit open calls daily. When the current work assessments are compared to the last couple of years (which have been record-setting years for construction man-hours) the total numbers are far below those of the previous years. With that said, work is still good, just not at the magnitude of the last couple of years.
Work is good for lineman everywhere right now, as demonstrated by the un-filled lineman calls that are being reported everywhere, including at Local 1245. We are getting reports of a shortage in manpower from locals all over the country. As of the end of September, Local 1245 has had calls in California and Nevada and it has been that way for the last couple of weeks of September with not much change in sight. Journeyman Lineman and Fabricator Technicians classifications are getting the most open calls.
Richard Ingle continues to perform crew visits all over Local 1245’s jurisdiction. In the month of September, he logged 6,240 miles and visited 65 job locations. There has been a lot of positive comments and feedback from our members and traveling brothers about seeing a business rep out in the field.
Mike Cottrell continues to handle most of the walk-in issues with members and dispatch. He is also performing membership safety orientations for all new members and travelers, which is now a requirement before taking a job. This requirement started in February of 2014 as a result of several safety concerns, and to date there have been 1,963 of these safety orientations.
BACKGROUND CHECKS AND PRE-SCREENINGS
Part of the issues Local 1245 is experiencing in California and on PG&E property relate to the new customer-imposed background checks and customer pre-approval prior to working on property. We have had a handful of mind-boggling decisions made by PG&E with regards to who can and can’t work on their property, and there’s confusion over the criteria being used by PG&E in making this determination. We are hoping for a positive resolution on this issue by the end of the first week of October. One thing we know for sure is if members are interested in working on PG&E property, they should be prepared to have a background check performed by every contractor they take a job for. Things that will prevent them from working on PG&E property are:
- Previous termination from PG&E
- 2 DUI convictions in the last 3 years
- Any felony conviction in the last 7 years
CANUS and CALINC
On September 12, ballots were counted on a proposed five-year contract extension with both Canus and Calinc. Both contracts passed overwhelmingly, and the extension will guarantee that members will receive a wage increase tied to the Consumer Price Index for all wage earners in the San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose areas. This extension has built-in protections for both the members and the employers, and came with a recommended “Yes” vote. It was a win-win for both sides. The new extension will take effect June 1, 2015 and run through May 31, 2020. No other provisions in the agreements were voted on. Details on the vote are:
CANUS- 72 returned ballots, 64-Yes, 8-No, Passed by 88.8%
CalInc- 44 returned ballots, 40-Yes, 4-No, Passed by 90.9%
Five separate contracts are due to expire on of before December 31, 2014 that we will be working to negotiate or extend. We also have two other contractors who have agreements identical to the ones that were just voted on and passed by the Canus and CalInc members, and we will be looking to extend those contracts in the same fashion.
Lineco Insurance is a Taft Hartley Welfare Fund overseen by 18 trustees: 9 IBEW and 9 NECA representatives whose sole mission is to provide benefits to IBEW/NECA in the outside electrical construction industry. Local 1245 members working under the California Outside Line Construction, Line Clearance Tree Trimming and Traffic and Street Light agreements are all covered by this insurance.
Lineco provides medical, dental, vision, disability as well as many other benefits to the members. You can find specific plan information at www.lineco.org or by calling them at 800-323-7268, Monday through Friday between 8:30am and 4:30pm CST. The Lineco administrative office is busiest on Monday and Tuesday and each day between 11:30 am and 2 pm CST. We encourage all members to visit the website or review their Summary Plan Description (SPD) to make sure they are utilizing all benefits and programs provided to them.
This month, some of the Outside Line and Tree Trimmers staff attended a Lineco Benefit Update Seminar in Chicago. They report back that the fund is in solid financial condition and we will not see an increase in the contribution rate through 2015. Since 2006, there has only been a $0.25 increase. In the near future participants will also have access to more online features, such as signing up their dependents by using the Lineco website.
At the seminar, the Health Retirement Account (HRA) was briefly covered. This benefit is new and was recently negotiated into the California Outside Line Construction agreement only. Effective June 1, 2015, Employers working under this agreement will contribute $0.50 for each hour worked into the members’ accounts. Members can start using these funds when their account reaches $100.00. The funds can be used for HRA qualified expenses, such as:
- Medical expenses, including deductibles and coinsurance
- Prescription drug co-pays
- Dental services, including deductibles, coinsurance, and non-covered services such as implants
- Vision expenses
- Hearing care expenses
- Active and retiree self-payments to Lineco
You can find all the information on the HRA and how to use the plan at //www.lineco.org/html/hspd0460.htm
In the month of September, we organized Precision Construction Services under the CA Outside Line Construction Agreement.
INJURED WORKERS FUND
As of September 26, 2014 the balance of the fund was $713.239.59. We paid out one claim in the month of August and none to date in September.
We are currently in the process of amending the plan to increase the disability payments, and we are also updating the summary plan description with the amendments that have taken place since the plan’s inception. We should have details in the next month to provide to all participants.
We currently have 324 outside line apprentices registered in our JATC program.
- 45 apprentices are working out of local 1245
- 242 are working out of 47
- 4 are working out of 396
- 15 are unemployed (33 are really unemployed, but 18 can’t work)
- 31 apprentices have graduated to journeyman lineman
- 25 outside line apprentices were indentured in 2014
|Classification||Sept. 2014 (as of 9/26)||
OUT OF WORK BOOKS AS OF SEPT 26th
2014 TRAINING SCHEDULE & SPECIAL EVENTS
- First Aid & CPR is the 2nd Saturday of every month at JATC Riverside and Sacramento facility.
- October 4 — Soccer Tournament, Fairfield, CA
- October 11 — Golf Tournament, Vacaville, CA
- October 15-18 — International Lineman Rodeo, Bonner Springs, KS.