Work outlook in both Northern California as well as Nevada has never been better. Distribution, transmission, fire hardening, system inspections, 450,000+ tags and surge arrestors have been the primary type of work performed throughout the jurisdiction. Work is in full swing for 2021 after a slower-than-anticipated start, and will continue to remain strong for many years to come.
Calls for the second quarter are starting to taper down to a normal flow coming into the Hall. Last quarter’s inspection calls have all but stopped, except to replace workers who are going back home for the summer. The tower painting work is expected to pick back up over the next couple of months with Par performing most of the work, however, there will be a new contractor, Tower Power, that was awarded 40 towers in Solano County.
We recently met with LS Power to discuss the SWIP North Project and their desire to have this performed by Local 1245. We are working on a Project Labor Agreement with them, ensuring this work remains ours, as well as two voltage support projects in California, one of which is outside of the PG&E Gates Substation and the other 11 miles outside of Round Mountain. The SWIP North Project is detailed below under Nevada work.
Wasatch Electric has three different line fold projects for NV Energy going into Olinghouse, Wildhorse (Reno area) and Thunder Mountain (Winnemucca) substations (all three substations are new construction). Wasatch also has approximately 60+ pole replacements to do in the Sierras, with most locations non-accessible. They have put in numerous groundman calls to man the work to start the hand holes. Approximate job completion for this is October 2021. They also have crews up at South Lake Tahoe on Liberty property working on 100+ poles and 10,000+ feet of Hendrix Aerial Cable to install. Same terrain, hand holes, and access issues. They are also using groundmen to get hand holes as well. Wasatch also has numerous Dock hands still working across NV Energy property.
Summit has crews on Liberty property as well, doing the same work — 100+ pole replacements, and 10K+ Hendrix Aerial Cable to install. They are using groundmen for hand holes as well. These projects will go until approximately September.
TW Powerline was recently awarded 400+ pole replacements on Liberty property. They will be putting in calls within the next couple of weeks for 2-4 crews to do this pole replacement work.
Sturgeon still has a crew out in Eastern Nevada doing work orders for NV Energy in the Winnemucca area.
Cache Valley still has the same work group building the Olinghouse and Wildhorse Substation projects for NV Energy. Olinghouse is nearly complete, Wildhorse has an end date for November of 2021.
The Southwest Intertie Project (SWIP) North project is the largest and final piece of the SWIP project that includes 275 miles of 500 kV transmission line in Idaho & Nevada, and links PacifiCorp, Idaho Power and BPA to CAISO. This project is nearly construction-ready and could be online as early as June 2024. We anticipate this to go to bid later this year with a start date sometime in the second or third quarter of 2022. Of the 275 miles of line, 200 miles of it — or 75% of the line — will be in 1245’s jurisdiction, and the remaining portion will be in Local 449 out of Pocatello, ID. We will be working with Local 449 (just as we did with Local 396) and Western Line NECA on phase one of this project to put in place a Project Addendum, which would utilize the 1245 agreement and make Local 1245 the dispatch point, due to majority of the line being located in our jurisdiction.
With the state of California relaxing and removing the Covid 19 restrictions, the IBEW 1245 Union Hall is now fully reopened. The processes to sign the books has changed slightly, but is very similar to the process we put in place when the Hall doors were locked due to Covid. As you enter the building, please follow the instructions posted on the signage. You will have to fill out a half-sheet of paper that will include your name, email address and phone number. Please write clearly, as this is the only way to get your application and if your information is incorrect or illegibile, it will delay your signing. You will not enter Dispatch until you receive an email to do so. When uploading your documents, please make sure you are sending us the most current and valid information.
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. There is also a new LaborPower Mobile App, and we are inviting all members to download it to their phones. The app allows you to check your contact information, available jobs, and position on the books, as well as re-sign and pay your dues — all at the tip of your fingers.
Please call the Hotline after hours for daily counts related to actual numbers on the Books, as well as details on all available calls!
I wish we could say things were great in regards to safety, but unfortunately they are not. Last quarter, I wrote about the sharp increase in accidents, Red Book violations, circuit interruptions, boom strikes and vehicle accidents. I would love to say we have gotten better, but unfortunately things have not improved, and we are now looking at an all-time high number of safety incidents and accidents.
Over the course of just 18 days, we lost two brothers in our jurisdiction, Groundman Johnny Cabrera and Journeyman Lineman John Ostroski. We have also had a third-party driving fatality in that same period. We must start look out for our brothers and sisters and ourselves, whether we are on the job or driving. There is and will be a continued focus on safety, and we are looking to the membership to help with answers as we cannot continue to have these issues. Outside Line’s use of the examining committee and work restrictions are reactive measures, and we are wanting to become more pro-active with safety. We will be looking to have a round table discussion in the near future with some OSL members to brainstorm some possible solutions so we can curb some of these safety issues.
All the Outside Line Reps are currently on one or more PG&E safety investigations involving contractor accidents. These investigations run anywhere from one hour to eight hours per day, for a two-week duration. Please be patient with us, as we are returning calls and texts after-hours, trying not to fall behind.
To date, we have passed out over 1,000 Red books, all usually accompanied by a contract as well as a review and discussion of recent incidents. Discussions with the membership over safety are being done with each crew visit, and they are expected to increase as safety rule violations seem to be rampant with many not understanding the rules out here. Each Representative is stopping work when something is not right, discussing the issues, and going over the requirements of our safety book. Here are some of the observations we are seeing in the field.
- Foreman roles
- Foreman completing paperwork, making up materials during primary work.
- Working on trucks involved in primary work.
- Crew members making up material on back of trucks during hot work.
- Barricades are in place to prevent employees and the public contacting the truck.
Other topics that have been discussed with crews include:
- Grounding to anchor, which is prohibited in the Red Book.
- Foreman roles, especially when Hot Work is performed. While energized work is being performed the foreman must be an observer and not perform any other tasks.
- Apprentice hot-work policy from the Cal Nev JATC. Apprentices may not work alone in a separate aerial device while performing energized work.
With Fire season upon us, please ensure all fire protocols are being adhered to and refer to section 1.13 of the Red Book for guidance on smoking.
In light of recent incidents that included a fatality and anchor issues which began in Southern California, it’s important to review the section of the agreement on groundman.
- Groundman – Contract Language
- Groundman shall work under the direct supervision of linemen at all times and shall assist linemen as directed in the performance of their work which includes the operation of jack- hammers, man-hauls, commercial vehicles at or more than 26,001 lbs. and the loading and unloading of materials and equipment, but under no circumstances shall a groundman climb poles, towers or structures, or work in the proximity of energized lines or equipment.
- Groundman may operate pick-up trucks and light flatbed trucks.
- Groundman may operate trucks used to service trucks and equipment on transmission lines.
- Groundman may drive bucket trucks, line trucks, and light trucks on the job. Groundman may be required to place water and ice in water can.
- Groundman shall furnish themselves with the following tools: hammer, pliers, ruler, 1O” adjustable wrench and skinning knife.
- Groundman may use hand-mechanized tools to assist tower and pole assembly.
The Local 1245 examining committee has been extremely busy dealing with issues related to safety or other wrong doings by workers in the local’s jurisdiction. The committee meets the third Tuesday of each month and had to recently move this date due to the large number of people that have been required to attend; there wasn’t enough time with the old date (which coincided with the monthly unit meeting).
There were three issues that were referred to the Local Union’s Executive Board for trial board hearings which were held the last week of June, with all charged being found guilty and assessed penalties. The local is taking a very hard stance especially on safety-related issues, and will continue to do so until we can see changes.
We have had a rash of members giving us altered CPR / First aid and CDL medical cards. If you are caught trying to pass an altered cert, you will be placed on the NEPR Books and have to appear in front of the Examining Committee, and they will determine when you will be eligible to take another call. Local 1245 and Local 47 share these names as ineligible to be dispatched and both Locals honor each other’s eligibility lists.
The Cal-Nev JATC Woodland Facility had a soft opening this spring, and had its first classes on Saturday April 17. They also held a weeklong Hot Stick class and the first of many Climbing classes in late June. Plans are underway for a grand opening celebration, which will be somewhere around the end of October or beginning of November.
Interviews for new apprentices began in June, and the second round took place on July 14 and 15, with approximately 140 applicants interviewed over that two-day period. There were close to 1,500 applications received and all need to have interviews, so if you applied and have not received an interview date yet, please be patient.
Current apprentice report as of July 6, 2021
- 597 outside line apprentices registered in our JATC program.
- 18 traveling apprentices in Cal Nev’s jurisdiction.
- 170 Apprentices are working out of local 1245.
- 374 are working out of 47, and 20 are working out of 396.
- 15 are unemployed, 14 are not available to work for various reasons and 4 are on a leave.
- 40 apprentices graduated to Journeyman Lineman since January 1, 2021.
- 76 new apprentices indentured as outside line apprentices in 2021.
Kyle Saddler has taken on the position of the Woodland facility Assistant Director for the JATC. He can be reach at (661) 210-6622. The address is Cal-Nev JATC, 545 Santa Anita, Woodland, CA.
INJURED WORKERS FUND (IWF)
In the three months past, $114,100 in disability claims have been paid out to eligible members. The IWF continues to see 20-30 claims per month, mostly from non-work related injuries/illness.
You can now obtain the IWF Summary Plan Description and Application on the union website under the “Outside Construction” tab at https://ibew1245.com/outside-line-injured-workers-fund/.
When submitting an IWF application, please make sure to read ALL of the eligibility requirements and submit with the appropriate documentation. The majority of claims that are being denied are due to the fact that the required documentation is not submitted at all, or the application does not contain all of the required information.
To request an IWF application please email IWF@ibew1245.com or text (707) 452-2720 with your name, email address or mailing address if you prefer to receive this document through the mail.
The following companies have signed an agreement with Local 1245 in the past three months:
California Outside Line Construction Agreement:
- Hangtown Electric, Inc.
- Leatherneck Construction, Inc.
- Energy Experts International
Construction Coordinator/Inspector Agreement:
- NV5, Inc.
- Gold Coast Utility Specialists, LLC
- Inspection Associates, Inc.
Gas Inspector Agreement:
- Austin Construction Resources & Experts LLC