The work picture has remained strong since the beginning of the year, and as we’ve reported before, there does not seem to be an end in sight. The Local 1245 dispatch office continues to dispatch workers at record numbers, with a total of 6,114 total dispatches as of the end of September. By comparison, this is almost twice the number of dispatches for all of 2018, which was also a record-setting year for total dispatches. Lineman dispatches alone have accounted for 3,839 calls in 2019, not including the workers who came into the jurisdiction under the emergency response agreement. At the peak during mid-summer, there were more than 5,000 workers on referrals out of our Local, performing everything from transmission, distribution, substation hardening and pole inspection work.
Once the inspection work was completed, there were some layoffs or reassignment of work with the focus on system hardening. PG&E’s hardening program consists of installing stronger and more resilient poles and covered power lines across approximately 7,100-line miles of highest fire risk areas. This work is expected to continue for the next 14 years. In 2019, the first full year of the program, the goal was 150 miles, and as of the end of August, 75 of those miles had been completed. This program will ramp up in 2020 and beyond to meet 14-year target, which will mean the need for manpower will continue.
As the transition from inspection and repairs ended and the focus shifted to hardening, the work hours for most crews was reduced from seven 12-hour days to six 10’s. The contractors are currently paying a higher daily subsistence than the $50 that the contract requires, and is currently hovering around $200 to $300 per day. This is to help attract workers to California to man this work.
Work in Nevada has also been hard to man due to the payment of quadruple sub and the extended work hours in California. There is still lots of work currently taking place and lots of work out to bid in Nevada. Looks like some of the surrounding utilities are following suit and beginning to look at doing some fire hardening in wake of the fires in PG&E’s territory. NV Energy has implemented a 12 month “cooling off period” for all employees who quit and want to go to work for any contractors on their property. This has included employees who already quit and were told that they were ok to come back to work. Since this new policy has been implemented, there have been five or six recently separated employees that have been escorted off the property.
PAR has doc crews and linemen in North & South Lake Tahoe working for Liberty Utilities. This will most likely continue into fall. PAR has started a fire inspection for NV Energy per NV Senate Bill 329. SB 329 requires Nevada regulators and utilities to take prudent steps to reduce the frequency and intensity of wildfires by adopting new forest management practices, undertaking fuel reduction and vegetation trimming, and hardening the electric utility infrastructure. PAR has moved 15-20 guys over from PG&E property to complete this project. It remains to been seen what NV Energy will do with all the tags that are generated from the inspections. PAR has completed this year’s fire inspections, creating approximately 4,500 repair tags to be completed. PAR will be staffing up to complete this work in the time allotted by NV Energy. PAR has been working on a small 120 KV transmission line between the Steamboat substation and the new South Meadows Sub. This is approximately one mile long. PAR has also been awarded two 4-25KV cutovers that they currently have one crew on and may start another on soon, depending on deadlines and progress.
Wasatch still has 40+/- doc linemen working at various locations for NV Energy. Wasatch also has a doc crew in Yerington & Winnemucca and a transmission crew. There are 7+/- sub techs and one tele-data tech working for NV Energy’s substation group all over the system. Wasatch has also been working on a T&E project to replace some of the most crucial structures on the 132 line out of Brunswick sub in Carson City which feeds Incline Village Substation.
Titan has one crew remaining working on gray wire replacement in Carson City for NV Energy. TW Powerline is wrapping up their pole replacement job for Truckee Donner PUD. Summit has been awarded the TRIC 120 KV loop transmission line in the TRIC industrial park. This project, which is approximately 10 miles of 120 KV with a completion date of January of 2020, is underway with access roads and pads being cut. As of this writing, they are still waiting on all the materials to arrive to start erection of the structures.
Our unit meetings have been well attended for the most part with the increased numbers of workers in the jurisdiction as well as the increased number of apprentices who have been indentured into the program and working in the jurisdiction. Unit meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month at IBEW Local 1245 Ron T. Weakly Union Hall in Vacaville.
During field visits with the crews, as well as phone calls from members, our Business Reps have discovered that there are a few signatory contractors using non signatory sub-contractors to do covered work under the Outside Line Agreement. One of the biggest issues we are finding is the use of hydro vac trucks to dig pole holes. This work is clearly covered work under the OSL agreement, and the use of IBEW 1245 signatory contractors to perform this work is a must.
With the help of our members and travelers, we have been able to stop the practice and, in some cases, organize the sub-contractors. Please continue to reach out to the Business Reps if you have any question about sub-contractors on your job sites.
Safety and Red Book Update
After several months and a lot of time, the revised Red Book is currently being reviewed for spelling and grammatical errors and should be at the full committee for review and approval by mid-October. Once approved by the full committee we will be getting them sent out to print.
There have been many questions on how to protect our members and travelers when pulling and clipping tree wire. CAL-OSHA states: Temporary protective grounds and bonds shall be placed at such a location and arranged in such a manner that the employer can demonstrate that it will prevent each employee from being exposed to hazardous differences in electrical potential. This verbiage will also be in the revised Red Book.
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:
- K.W. Emerson, Inc
- Michels Pacific Energy
- Allison Sierra
- Bullert Industrial Electric
- Elite Underground Inc.
- BTI Electric
CalNev JATC opened the application process on October 14, 2019 for a 10-day period. This marked the second time in 2019 that CalNev has opened up this process, which hasn’t been the norm in several years. This is a result of the increased workload and demand for apprentices in California and Nevada.
Current apprentices report:
- 641 outside line apprentices registered in our JATC program.
- 14 traveling apprentices in our jurisdiction.
- 258 apprentices are working out of local 1245
- 320 are working out of 47 and 29 – working out of 396
- 30 are unemployed, 10 are not available to work for various reasons and 4 are on a leave
- 66 apprentices graduated to journeyman lineman this year.
- 312 new apprentices indentured as outside line apprentices this year.
The CalNev JATC trustees have spent nearly two years considering four different properties before finally getting one that we should be closing on this fall. The property for the new CalNev JATC Northern California Training Center has passed all the hurdles that the other three could not, and plans are underway for this new state-of-the-art training center. The property is a little over 13 acres and located in Woodland, California. Once the purchase is final, work on the new facility will soon begin.
As we work on building this new facility to handle the increased load of apprentices in Northern California, the current northern training programs, which used to be held at the SMUD training center, have relocated to a different and larger training facility. The new temporary Northern California Cal-Nev JATC Training site, located at 6200 Franklin Blvd in Sacramento, was the previous site of a Campbell’s Soup facility. The building is 6,000 square feet, which will allow us to handle the increased volume of apprentices and install our new Trans Banker transformer simulator.
To get to the building: From Hwy 99, take the 47th exit and head West on 47th. Once you cross Franklin Blvd take the first driveway on your right. The parking lot is 100 yards off of 47th on the left. The training facility is the larger of the two steel buildings.
- First Aid & CPR is the second Saturday of every month at our Riverside and Sacramento locations.
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 create an 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.