We are now free to report and discuss the terms of the four-year contract extension that we negotiated with PG&E as part of the bankruptcy plan of reorganization. We already have a ratified two-year extension in place for 2020 and 2021, so this new four-year agreement will take us through 2025.
We believe that this is an extraordinarily good agreement, especially when we consider all of the competitive challenges we’ve been up against in recent years, including the company’s proposed clerical reductions, threats of municipalization, Distributed Energy Resources intrusion, micro-grids, efforts to scale back natural gas, and rate pressures that result in cost-cutting and a reduction in force, among other things.
The agreement that we have secured in the midst of one of the biggest and most costly corporate bankruptcies in American history is nothing short of monumental. Traditionally, when companies go bankrupt, it’s the workers who end up paying the price — be it through downsizing/mass layoffs, loss of retirement security, and/or enormous cuts to benefits and wages — but due to our diligence and the power we’ve successfully built together, we’ve managed to not only keep everything we had, but actually come out ahead in the end. This is truly unheard-of, and it speaks volumes to both the enormous power in our union, as well as the inherent value that our members provide to the company and the communities they serve.
Provisions of the agreement include:
- Physical and clerical contracts and benefit agreements extended until 12/31/25. (HRA, point-of-service copays, deductible, and out-of-pocket max remain as they are)
- General wage increase of 3.75% on 1/1/22, 1/1/23, 1/1/24,and 1/1/25. Compounded over the four years, this produces a total increase of 15.86%.
- No involuntary layoffs of IBEW-represented employees unless agreed to by IBEW. This does not preclude termination of an employee for cause.
- Municipalization – company will oppose any attempt to municipalize based on our shared belief that municipalization is not in the best interest of PG&E’s customers.
- Freeze the medical insurance premium copayment dollar amount at 2020 levels for the duration of the extended contract (through 2025).
- PG&E management and IBEW leadership agree to work together for the mutual benefit of all parties and will focus their attention and skills on improving safety and safety culture at PG&E.
In our opinion, this agreement reflects a genuine recognition by PG&E management that the company’s recovery depends in large part on the hard work of IBEW Local 1245 members who have experienced continuous instability for more than 20 years. With wages, benefits, hours, and working conditions protected for the next six years, our members can concentrate on their jobs.
Our regulatory, labor, and bankruptcy lawyers are still analyzing the ratification issue. Although the agreement is remarkably good and contains no concessions, we would typically submit it to our members in a ratification vote. The intersection of labor law and bankruptcy law raises unique and difficult questions. We will let you know as soon as we have final advice from our various lawyers and we have decided.
–Tom Dalzell, IBEW 1245 Business Manager