The work picture throughout our jurisdiction continues to remain very strong with no end in sight for both California and Nevada. Just as PG&E was moving into an accelerated fire hardening program, which was expected to provide additional work for our members for at least the next 15 years, we were hit with the Camp fire. Resources from just about all of contractors — as well as from other utilities from other states in the form of mutual aid — were moved to that restoration effort They worked very long hours in physically and emotionally taxing conditions, and we thank everyone who helped in this effort.
While this effort was underway, we were at full employment at the hall and had standing calls for up to 25 linemen daily. PG&E announced in the middle of this effort the need for an additional 2,000 lineman to perform and make repairs to 50,000 transmission structures that covered 5,400 line-miles, and initially set a goal to complete the project in 90 days. Resources of this magnitude in such a short period of time when we were already facing severe shortages would seem impossible. From the Friday before Thanksgiving until the week after, we worked closely with the customer to devise a plan to get the resources in place to do this without disrupting all the other work that is going on. This is an emergency for PG&E, and we need to be part of the solution, as it has a direct impact on our members.
The National Emergency Response Agreement that has been in place since 2010, as well as the National Transmission Portability Agreement, were tools to achieve this. We also worked closely with the customer on what it would take to draw linemen here around the holidays. Eventually the numbers went down from 2,000 and have settled at a little over 600. This work is under way with a slightly later completion date. I constantly try to explain to our membership that the two biggest threats to the 100% union workforce are safety/quality and our ability to provide manpower to perform the work when called upon. If we don’t do it, someone else will — and that is not an option for us. Business Rep. Ralph Kenyon has spent every morning working with the customer and the employer as they on-board for this inspection work until they reached the 600 number which was settled on. We have been diligent that these agreements are followed to the letter, and everyone here is an IBEW member on a referral.
Our work is nowhere near done. On Monday January 14, bids are due in for a similar undertaking on the distribution system in the high fire-prone areas. This amounts to 640,000 structures. Work is supposed to be completed in 120 days after it’s awarded, and based on a six-day work schedule, this represents about 6,000 structures per day. This will be another huge draw on resources. The first part of this will require a visual inspection to document what, if anything, needs repair. We have worked with the Western Line Chapter of NECA on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to address this work as a single-man operation. We have inspection agreements in place and, in an effort to move this work to the construction workforce, this was needed. There is a wage rate increase for this to the wage rate of the Compliance Inspector 2 that is covered in the inspection agreements and all the other benefits afforded in the OSL agreement. Anything that is found to be more than a minor repair from the ground level will be sent for crew work.
All the above-mentioned work is in addition to all the Accelerated Fire Hardening upgrade work in the fire prone areas as well as the rest of the work our contractors have all over the system. There is a lot work we are doing to make this successful, and we will continue to work closely to make this happen. Thanks to everyone who is out here every day contributing to this effort as professionals. I am confident we will get through all the coming challenges and you are all part of the reason for that confidence.
All of the OSL Reps are very busy in the field visiting crews as well as dealing with all the additional issues that come with the increase in work.
Work picture for Nevada remains strong. We are seeing some good size transmission projects and some good distribution work as well.
PAR has doc linemen in North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe working on the crews where needed. PAR has also picked up some 4/25 kV cutover work in Reno.
Wasatch has 35+/- doc linemen working at various locations for NV Energy. Wasatch also has a doc crew in Yerington and Fallon working on a T&E basis. The five sub techs have returned to work for the substation group all over the system. Wasatch is working on 23 miles of 120 KV rebuild from Lahontan to Interstate 80. They have also begun working 300 or so pole replacements in Paradise Valley and Eden Valley. All work on these projects is progressing well.
Titan Wyoming should be wrapping up their 4/25kv cut over/re-conductor project in Reno sometime in January. The 4/25kv cutover job off El Rancho has started and currently has one crew working. All the poles have been set and work is progressing well. Titan also picked up a 60-pole reconductor/ pole replacement job in Stead that they will roll into after the other two projects are complete. The UG replacement job in Elko is completed.
Newman has started on a small 4-5-week distribution job in Battle Mountain converting single phase to three phase.
Summit is working on a substation job for Liberty Utilities in South Lake Tahoe which includes a new control house and all new distribution breakers and getaways. The new poles for the new UG getaways have been set and the OH wire has been transferred. They are currently working on the control wiring and substation equipment.
We had two contracts set to expire at the end of 2018, and we were successful in ratifying extensions to both of these agreements.
San Francisco Trolley Agreement (SFECA agreement): This agreement expired on December 31, 2018. We successfully negotiated a new five-year deal that included 3% wage increases each year for the first three years, and wage increases in the final two years will be based on a CPI formula that has been used in the past. It also included $.25 a year for each year for healthcare, and if it’s not needed, it would be added to the NEAP rate. The last thing that was bargained was the sick leave mandate. In exchange for writing this out of the agreement, we agreed to phase in an HRA fund that will reach $1.00 an hour by the term of the agreement.
Franklin Energy dba GoodCents Solutions: This agreement has been in place since 2006 and has been successfully negotiated several times since then. This agreement covers workers who have been performing and maintaining the SmartThermostat program for PG&E. The company has made some enhancements to its medical and disability benefits and we came to an agreement to extend this current agreement addressing wages only. Both parties have agreed to a three-year extension with wage increases for all classification of 3% a year for each year or 9% over the term of the extension.
The California-Nevada JATC will accept applications online for 10 days from February 11, 2019 until February 22, 2019. Applications can ONLY be submitted online through the www.CalNevJATC.org website and will not be available until February 11, 2019. The application must be completed online no later than February 22, 2019 and all required documentation MUST be received by February 22, 2019.
We have been encouraging the contractors in 1245’s jurisdiction to use more apprentices, as the indenturing of new apprentices is done by supply and demand. It is working and we hope it will continue to do so.
Currently, we currently have 421 outside line apprentices registered in our JATC program. This is up from 381 just three months ago, with another climbing class scheduled in a couple of weeks. We have one traveling apprentice in our jurisdiction. 150 Apprentices are working out of Local 1245, 223 are working out of Local 47, 13 are working out of Local 396, 15 are unemployed and another 15 are not available to work for various reasons. 6 are on a leave. In 2018, we graduated 70 apprentices to journeyman lineman, and we indentured 150 outside line apprentices.
The CalNevJATC trustees are and have been actively working to obtain property in the north. There are a couple sites of interest and we are in the process of negotiating a price with the land owner for a site in Vacaville. This has been a long and sometimes exhausting process, but feel we are getting close to making this a reality.
- First Aid & CPR is the second Saturday of every month at our Riverside and Sacramento locations.
Know Your Contract
Every month, we run into many basic contract issues with simple solutions available to members simply by looking in the agreement. Then there are issues where the answer is not that simple, and help is needed. In both cases, if a member or crew is not aware of or educated in the language in the agreement, conditions can be broken down, and in many cases they could find themselves being shorted on pay. With the amount of work we have going and the large number of travelers, it is important that everyone is familiar with the agreement, so we can keep what we have negotiated in place. We are going to attempt to take sections from our contract, starting with ones we see coming up most in the field, and discuss them here.
As we enter the rainy season, we tend to get flooded with calls asking if members are required to work in the rain. The very last paragraph in Section 4.4 of the agreement addresses this issue:
It is agreed that, except in emergencies, employees shall not be required to work in rain or other inclement weather. However, if the employees choose to, and the Employer agrees, they will be allowed to work if they desire to do so. In the event of the inclement weather, employees shall report on scheduled work days unless otherwise instructed by the Employer at least two (2) hours before the regular starting time. No individual workers of the crews shall be called in to work except in extreme emergencies.
In short, there is no requirement for anyone to work in the rain unless it has been deemed an emergency. There are also no premiums in pay for members who chose to work in the rain. There are always questions, especially under storm work, regarding whether it’s an emergency or not, and if the customer requires crews to take a rest period. One thing we have noticed is when these situations come up where the customer feels it is an emergency, and crews don’t think so and refuse to work in the rain for restoration purposes, they are usually pulled off the storm work.
Please call the hotline after hours for daily counts related to current numbers on the books.
All 1245 OSL members are encouraged to sign up and register your own personal account through the Local 1245 website. Once registered, you will be able to check your books status, make changes to personal information, pay union dues and even check on available jobs without having to call the dispatch office for this information. This is a very useful tool for our OSL members.
Please call the hotline for details on all available calls!
Dispatch Call Counts