PG&E Newsletter March 2022
Agreement to have many ESC hourly classifications included in Pre-Arranged Overtime (POT) at Emergency Overtime (EOT) rate during major storm events
ESC has secured an agreement with management to treat POT like EOT during major electric events (opening of an Operations Emergency Center)! ESC-represented classifications in Construction, Estimating, Mapping, and Service Planning will now receive the same rate of pay as members called in to support emergency response & restoration. This is an improvement to the double time (2X) rate of pay when ESC members volunteer to work planned emergency work as opposed to the prior compensation of straight time & one half (1.5X) rate of pay for POT when supporting an emergency. This achievement is the result of many years of advocacy to gain this equity for ESC members working to restore power to PG&E customers. The agreement is retroactive to December 13th, 2021.
Officially Welcoming the Reservoir Engineers
After many years of negotiations, members of the Reservoir Engineers group have ratified an agreement and the Unit Board approved the addition of the group to the ESC contract. This was made possible by securing an increase in compensation from management’s offer. The agreement provides for base wage and general wage increases for all in the group who otherwise would have received lower compensation participating in the management wage increase program for individual contributors. Please join us in welcoming the Reservoir Engineers as the Union’s newest members!
Your remote work bargaining committee continues to meet with management to secure the best possible agreement for continued remote work. Just a reminder that management has committed to 60-day notice before returning employees to an office. To date, the Union currently has not received such notice. Your bargaining committee is committed to and endeavoring to complete the agreement, since in the absence of an agreement, the base working conditions for ESC-hourly employees is to report to their assigned HQ/office when the current temporary agreement ends.
To be clear, the Union is not negotiating individual office remote schedules but rather is negotiating an agreement that enables management to offer remote work assignments and defines the terms and conditions of such remote work assignments when implemented. It is important for members to understand that they may be assigned to report to their assigned HQ daily and that residing within a commutable distance of their assigned headquarters is advised. While the Union is hopeful and anticipates that most members will still continue to work significant amounts of remote work on a weekly basis and enjoy the benefits to work/life balance that remote work brings, there are no guarantees of remote work assignments under this enabler agreement.
Negotiations have made significant progress, but the primary sticking points revolve around “In Lieu” meal allowances & meal period payments (for hourly paid members) and compensated travel time on days members work remotely. To be clear, management is not seeking changes to meal allowances, meal period payments, and travel time compensation for those that work full time on-site in a PG&E HQ/office, or for those employees with a hybrid assignment on days that they have reported to and are working in the office.
Welcome New Assistant Executive Director Carl Harland
March marks the first month of Carl Harland’s service to the Union as our new Assistant Executive Director (AED) for the PG&E Unit. Carl’s extensive experience as an ESC Steward, Bargaining Committee member, Field Engineer, Electric Estimator, Sr. Gas Estimator, and Senior New Business Representative is an incredible asset to the team as he steps into his new role as a Union staff director. ESC is always seeking opportunities to improve our capabilities related to the quality of representation for our members. We believe Carl’s addition to the management team at ESC aligns with these goals.
Thanking Kathy Cleairmont and Welcoming Rene Vasquez
Please join me in thanking Kathy Cleairmont for her service to the Union as a Union Representative. Many of you may know that after retiring from PG&E and her service to the Union as a Steward and ESC Executive Board member, Kathy joined the ESC staff as a Union Representative. Kathy is again retiring to enjoy her family. Kathy did an amazing job as a union representative and demonstrated the value that PG&E stewards, with their background and understanding of PG&E, bring to the position. Steward and Executive Board Officer Rene Vasquez will be on an approved Union leave for a period of time to supplement the Union’s representation of the members and will be handling the representation of Kathy’s route until such time that a permanent hire has been achieved.
Currently, the Union is recruiting a union staff member for PG&E representation. Go to our listing on unionjobs.com if you are interested and willing to leave PG&E’s employment to become an ESC employee. Stewards and all unit members are strongly encouraged to apply for all ESC opportunities where service to others is our mission.
2021 STIP & R&R
After PG&E’s Board of Directors (not to be confused with the ESC PG&E Unit Board, commonly referred to as the “Unit Board”) adopted a change to the STIP program in 2021 that limited the individual modifier to 100% in the upper L, the Union was faced with two choices: attempt to win a number of grievances that might recover some of the projected $260,000 aggregate lost income for ESC members, or negotiate an agreement to mitigate the PG&E Board of Directors’ action. After much analysis and negotiation, the Union reached an agreement that allowed ESC monthly-paid members being able to receive expanded R&R via the management’s R&R program (for 2021 only), and for all members to have the ability to cash out excess vacation instead of facing vacation forfeiture. This is in exchange for the Union agreeing not to grieve the 2021 STIP changes.
This resulted in:
- 535 STIP-eligible members receiving expanded R&R, averaging $1,368 for a total of $762K in expanded R&R
- Millions of dollars of vacation payout across the entire membership, rather than forced vacation or forfeiture of excess vacation above the annual allowable carryover cap.
For 2022 the contract language reverts to the previous contract language. The Upper L individual performance modifiers also return and are subject to further bargaining.
Agreement to mitigate the effects of the closure of 3401 Crow Canyon, Concord RMC, and San Ramon Building Z
The Union recently reached an agreement that allows those members that are facing displacement from the Concord RMC, 3401 Crow Canyon, and San Ramon Building Z to the new facilities in Oakland (over the next few years) an opportunity to be placed in an alternative location, if one can be found, by permitting preferential placement for these displaced members (which is a tenet of the contract).
Since these HQs are all within the Bay bid region, the contract clearly allows management to move employees when they close a building (see section 22.9), so this agreement is an important tool to potentially mitigate the impact of these moves, as will the possibility of future remote work assignments. Previous “A” rights will be respected.
Accelerated ADE Bidding LOA
The Union has agreed to a process for an expedited job bidding process to expedite over fifty promotions to electric ADE. The process will protect members’ bid rights and includes the possibility of changing departments for current ADEs (something not contractually required normally).
The Union’s annual meeting is on April 14th. The annual meeting is where the ESC Executive Board reports to the members and is a cornerstone of ESC democracy. Please RSVP ASAP by filling out the quick RSVP form available at ifpte20.org. This will be an online meeting starting at 5:30. All members are encouraged to attend, as we are a member-driven union, and your participation is crucial to the overall success of the Union.
Unit Board Nominations
Nominations for Area officers of the ESC PG&E Unit Board are currently open. More information is available on the ESC website, so make sure to drop by and review this and the other information routinely updated and communicated on ifpte20.org.
Establishing Normal Bidding Rights to and from the Scheduler’s Line of Progression (LOP)
Management has asked the Union to sever the link between ADEs, Senior Field Engineer Technicians, and Senior Engineering Estimators created in LOA 06-08 when the classification of scheduler was first created.
Management cites a concern based on there having only been one use of this language in 12 years, and it requires a burdensome manual check by the Combined Job Bidding Team (CJBT) that increases the potential of an error occurring during the bidding list validation process.
The ESC PG&E Unit Board discussed the concern. It was agreed that the original intent of this language was to “seed” the classification with ESC members possessing experience in scheduling other workers (SFET, ADEs). These bidding provisions in LOA 06-8 did not achieve this intent. However now many schedulers with over a decade of seniority could potentially be bypassed by members in another line of progression for bidding, (such language is extremely rare and almost all lines of progression give preference to those in the line of progression) this language is inherently unfair (as there is no reciprocity for schedulers to those classifications) and treats the scheduler LOP differently than other LOPs. The Unit Board concluded that it will authorize the deletion of this link. If members object or disagree please contact email@example.com for consideration by the Unit Board.
John Mader, President
Carl Harland, Assistant Executive Director