January 23rd, 2023
Your ESC Union Updates: Catastrophic Storms, Exams, Vacation Accrual, and more.
Many of our union siblings have been working tirelessly to restore service caused by the devastating storms that have swept our state. Thank you for your service during these catastrophic times. There have been many questions regarding time entry and the implementation of LOA 22-08—double-time for PTO during major weather events for several classifications. To get more clarification of the LOA, the Union has rescheduled the monthly steward’s meeting for Thursday, January 26th at 3:30pm.
Estimators taking the senior estimating exam have raised concerns about the test. The Union meets with management regularly to determine issues and resolve them. The Union secured an appeals process for next year’s exam:
- Test questions will be from the ETP training program, or test takers will be informed of the subject’s questions that they will be asked about (such as pole loading calculations).
- Management will conduct multiple test preparation sessions on company time. Topics include effective appeals, what to expect during the test, the development of questions, and other pertinent information.
- The Union will review the exam for appropriate material beforehand and the score afterward.
- Management and the Union will review the results to assess the need to adjust the passing score.
- An appeals process will be instituted for this year’s exam.
Thank you to the members who invested in their professions by developing test questions for past exams. The Union is confident that passing rates will rise significantly by taking advantage of these opportunities and applying these changes in addition to estimators’ hard work.
The Company and the Union are working on an agreement to facilitate a transition of half this year’s ADE test to a new electronic multiple-choice format to assess the viability of an electronic test format. The other half will remain a written exam. A Joint Oversight Committee is already meeting to drive the introduction of electronic testing in the ADE test. Issues to be addressed by the Joint Oversight Committee include: test taker preparation sessions (the first session will be next week), test-appropriate questions, passing score, test timing, length of the exam, and appropriate feedback from the electronic portion of the test.
Provisional Senior Estimators
If you are an engineering estimator and meet the qualifications listed in LOA 21-05 for the senior provisional estimator, contact your supervisor as soon as possible to confirm that you meet the qualifications. You should include your resume or a copy of your diploma to your supervisor to assist in their review of your qualifications.
Per Article 9.1(c) of the Agreement, ESC members cannot carry over more than twice their annual accrual of vacation time at the end of the year. Members can still accumulate more than two times their annual vacation rate during the year but should plan to use their vacation time to avoid ending the year with “excess vacation” on the books. While the contract provides for a payout of “excess vacation” under some circumstances, please be aware those circumstances are limited to situations where there is an operational or personal reason for failing to take the “excess vacation”. The contract does not allow members to forgo “excess vacation” solely to receive a payout. If you have intentionally chosen to forgo vacation to get a payment, you will not receive a payment and will lose that “excess vacation” from your vacation bank. For this reason, our best advice is to use all your vacation time wherever possible.
If you cannot use your vacation and anticipate having excess hours as of December 31st, you will need to establish an operational or personal reason to receive your vacation payment. If you requested vacation but were denied for operational reasons, you may qualify for excess vacation hours payout. Not being able to use your vacation time due to medical leave may also qualify. Please document these circumstances to support your request for “excess vacation” hours payout.
Recently, Delta Dental changed its provider reimbursements for dental expenditures, raising some and lowering others which caused some dentists to leave the Delta Dental Network. Some members have expressed concerns after experiencing an uptick in dental costs due to dental providers leaving the Delta Dental Network, which left members saddled with out-of-network costs. The Union met with PG&E to discuss this issue and learned that less than 2% of dentists left. However; some areas were more impacted than others. The Union also discovered that Delta Dental has been trying to convince dentists to rejoin the network where PG&E has raised concerns and Delta Dental has been successful in some cases. The PG&E Benefits department has agreed to communicate concerns about specific dentists with Delta Dental if employees share their concerns with the PG&E Benefits department. Therefore, the Union recommends concerned members to contact HR benefits.
Office Movements and Closures
Management has notified the Union that it intends to close and move several offices. Under section 22.9 of the Contract, management has broad discretion to close and move offices in the bid region. The Union is seeking to mitigate the impacts of these movements. Management has indicated that it is unwilling to enter into agreements similar to the ones reached for the closure of SF-GO, and San Ramon Building Z citing the reduced number of alternative HQs available for the impacted members. After multiple meetings, management expressed willingness to consider alternative locations to mitigate impacts to specific offices, such as the West Sacramento RMC, Stockton design center, or even Oakland GO. More details provided in the future.
Office Closures & Movements:
- Livermore to Hayward
- 2730 Gateway Sacramento to Sacramento RMC/Florin Perkins
- Some work groups from San Ramon Building Z to Oak-GO