The work picture in California continues to be very strong as PG&E works to inspect and repair all their facilities in the Tier 3 and Tier 2 fire zone areas prior to the 2019 fire season. The transmission inspection work is nearing an end, however there are still a lot of repairs to be made. The distribution inspections and repairs have begun and will continue on for several more months. This work is expected to go through 2019, and along with the fire hardening programs throughout the system, there is a generation’s worth of work here.
Over the last four months, we have been assisting with contractor orientations in San Ramon, which are required by PG&E for these wildfire hardening projects. PG&E also requires all contractor employees to be IBEW members, and during these orientations, pictures are taken of all dues receipts and verification of their qualifications and any special training they may have is documented. With the various classifications that different local unions use for Journeyman Lineman across the states, the union has aimed to have an outside construction business rep present for just about all of these orientations.
With the large number of travelers coming into the Union Hall each Monday, we are now doing safety orientations en masse in the conference rooms here at the Hall. We are also streamlining the way we handle these large crowds by issuing paperwork and numbers in the parking lot, and then allowing specific groups of people into the dispatch office at a time. This ensures “first come, first served” when signing the books.
We seem to have around 20 -40 standing calls daily, with just about all the calls being 6-12’s plus double sub, and there are several employers offering an additional $100 for lodging.
Even with the large number of linemen who are coming in to our jurisdiction, there is still a huge demand for more, given all the work that needs to be done. When we consider the long workdays, record man-hours, and large swaths of workers who have never worked in California or under our collective bargaining agreements before, safety remains a concern. Local 1245 business representatives are in the field every day and occasionally need to talk with the crews over contractual or safety issues that they see.
Work picture for Nevada remains strong, with lots of work for our outside contractors.
PAR has doc linemen in North & South Lake Tahoe working for Liberty Utilities. PAR has also picked up some 4/25 KV cutover work in Reno that is getting rolling with a completion date sometime in May.
Wasatch has 40+/- doc linemen working at various locations for NV Energy. Wasatch also has a doc crew in Yerington working on a T&E basis. There are now 10 sub techs working for the substation group all over the system. Wasatch is working on 23 miles of 120 KV rebuild from Lahontan to Interstate 80 which is progressing as well as the weather will allow. They were also awarded 300 or so pole replacements in Paradise Valley and Eden Valley, and all work on these projects is progressing well.
Titan Wyoming should be wrapping up sometime in March, due to weather delays on their 4/25kv cut over/re-conductor project in Reno off Moana. The 4/25kv cutover job off El Rancho has been completed and the crew has moved on to the Silver Lake project in Stead. Titan has also been awarded an UG job pulling and splicing Million MCM feeder for a new back tie in Lemmon Valley. Titan also picked up approximately three miles of transmission in south Reno, which stared the first week in April.
Summit has completed their substation job for Liberty Utilities in South Lake Tahoe, which included a new control house and all new distribution breakers and getaways. They have picked up a small substation in Sparks for a biofuels plant. This plant also has a transmission line to feed it that is out to bid as well.
Cache Valley Electric’s distribution project in Lund NV, which has been delayed due to weather, has now started. This project will only be one crew and should finish sometime in May.
Newman has picked up some 4/25KV cutover work in Reno that started this spring. There are two small projects — one is approximately 30 poles, and the other is approximately 60 poles and reconductor.
A lineman named Jason Lyman, who was working for Wasatch in Elko, was tragically killed in an off-the-job snowmobiling accident in Utah. Our condolences go out to Jason’s family and everyone who worked with him.
Safety Red Book
We are still working on the Red Book, due to all of the changes. and hope to complete a review by the Trustees in the next couple of months. Currently it is being cleaned up for a final review before approval.
Organizing is ongoing, with several new contractors contacting us on how to become signatory. Below are some of the new contractors that were signed since January 1, 2019:
CA Outside Line Construction Agreement:
- Bess TestLab, Inc
- Donahoo, Inc
- Electrical Utility Services LLC
- Ferreira Power, LLC
- Platinum Standard Line Contractors
- Power Grade Inc.
- Power House Grading
- Pro Energy Services Group LLC
- Utility Traffic Control Services, Inc
CalNev JATC accepted applications for ten days at the beginning of February. There were close to 800 applicants that returned their applications and supporting documents and will be eligible for interviews in the coming months. Close to 400 of them are considered direct interviews, which means they either have work experience of have completed a line school program. Direct interview workers are the first to be interviewed, and the first round of interviews is scheduled for the middle of May. They will likely continue monthly until they are complete.
Currently, the program has more apprentices than ever before, and we have standing calls for over 100 new apprentices. Most of these apprentices are now working to meet the demand in Local 1245’s area, whereas it used to be the southern end of the state employing most of the apprentices in the program. The current facility in Southern California is running at capacity, and I am happy to report that we have 8.3 acres in Vacaville in contract for a new northern JATC facility. It is currently going through an environmental assessment, and if everything is clear, we expect to close on this property and start building the new training facility as soon as possible.
Current apprentice report:
- 460 outside line apprentices are registered in our JATC program
- 85 traveling apprentices are in our jurisdiction
- 154 are working out of local 1245
- 273 are working out of 47
- 16 are working out of 396
- 0 are unemployed
- 10 are not available to work for various reasons
- 7 are on a leave
- We have graduated 16 apprentices to journeyman lineman this year
- We have indentured 58 outside line apprentices this year
- 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 that members can find for themselves by looking into the agreement. Then there are times when the answer is not that simple, and additional help is needed. In both cases, if a member or crew is not aware of or educated in the language in the agreement, conditions are broken down and, in many cases, members 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 are able to keep what has been negotiated in place. We are going to attempt to take sections from our contract — starting with ones we see coming up most often in the field — and try to cover them here.
Around certain holidays, we often get calls from members wanting to know if a specific holiday is recognized as that day approaches. Holidays and Overtime pay are addressed under Section 4.10 of the agreement. This section also addresses when overtime is paid. This too is important, as we also get calls regarding over 40 hours of work. The agreement is clear that OT is all work after the regular working hours and on Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on the holidays listed.
Section 4.10 – HOLIDAYS AND OVERTIME
All work performed outside of the regular scheduled working hours and on Saturdays, Sundays, and the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day (California only), Presidents Day (Nevada only), Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day (California only), Nevada Day (Nevada only), Thanksgiving Day and the Friday following, and Christmas Day, shall be paid for at double the regular straight-time rate of pay. Holidays (except for Veteran’s Day) falling on Saturdays and Sundays do not require the Employers to observe those holidays on a Friday or on Monday and the employees will not receive premium time compensation on those Fridays or Mondays.
Please call the hotline after hours for daily counts related to actual numbers on the Books.
All 1245 OSL members are encouraged to sign up and register for a personal account through the Local 1245 website. Once registered, members are able to check their 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 through the end of May
Local 1245’s dispatch office has dispatched 1,402 calls through the end of March. By comparison, at this same time last year, they had dispatched 538 calls. In the month of March alone, they dispatched 706 calls and anticipate those numbers to increase for the month of April. The Lineman classification has been dispatched the most, with a total of 956 of those 1,402 calls going to linemen. These are summertime numbers and reflect just under half of what was dispatched during all of 2018. The dispatch office is very busy, so please refrain from calling during dispatch hours.