This bulletin is regarding the working conditions and compensation of hourly paid members.
The winter storms from earlier this year exposed the need to update provisions in our Contract for pre-arranged overtime (POT). The necessity to update POT contract provisions is especially significant because the agreement of LOA 22-18 (emergency overtime time (EOT) (double time) rate for POT (normally time and a half) facilitated more ESC members working pre-arranged overtime supporting PG&E’s storm response efforts. For context, emergency overtime is when you are called in and always paid at the double-time rate.
Over the years, the ESC contract has evolved to accommodate emergency overtime (EOT) for electric estimators. These provisions address instances of members being called out to respond to emergencies. This evolution took the introduction of RMCs (which introduced the need for multiple HQ overtime distribution) into account, followed by Design Centers and advancements in available technologies.
However, our contract provisions for POT lack a similar mechanism. The guidelines for POT were last updated in 2000, providing equal distribution by HQ. This approach does not take into account the Company’s recent method of staffing major events. Presently, the Company uses a combination of EOT and POT on a regional basis to staff these events. It’s important to note that POT for major events is not an equal offering (often referred to as an open offering in negotiated overtime guidelines). During winter storms, there have been reports of POT being allocated from the EOT list, leading to inconsistent practices in coding POT for major events as EOT. In short, the awarding, coding, and racking of POT for major storm events has been a mess. To accomplish equal distribution of overtime as outlined in section 17.5 of the Contract, a new contractual mechanism is needed.
The following list is the ESC 100/100 Storm Support and Emergency Response committee appointed by the ESC PG&E Unit Executive Board. Due to the need for representation from all classifications covered by LOA 22-08, of double time for pre-arranged overtime during major events, the committee is relatively large. While electric estimators are predominantly the classification called for EOT and assigned POT for major storm events, the Union recognizes the importance of input from all hourly classifications (and commodities) that work to support PG&E operations during these events. I would like to thank all the members who volunteered, and I wish there was room for more participation. The Unit Board also had to balance geographical representation and ensure the inclusion of both members who work a lot of EOT and those who are interested in only major events.
Thank you to our 100/100 Storm Support and Emergency Response Committee Members:
John Mader, Electric Distribution Engineer Sacramento, ESC PG&E Unit President
Carl Harland, ESC Assistant Executive Director PG&E Unit
Joel Foster, Electric ADE, ESC PG&E Unit Board Executive Vice President
Abernethy, Garick, Electric Associate Distribution Engineer
Tim Alexander, Scheduler
Matt Bandoni, Lead Mapping Technician, ESC Steward
Lindsay Barbato, Gas Associate Distribution Engineer, ESC Steward
Brian Breuer-Harberts, Field Engineer
Jeff Wiebe, Senior Electric Estimator
David Daniele, Senior Electric Estimator
Bradley Featherston, Associate Distribution Engineer, ESC Steward
Aaron Finato, Industrial Power Engineer, ESC Steward
Mary Nguyen, Electric Associate Distribution Engineer, ESC Steward
Ca Huynh, Senior New Business Representative, ESC Steward
Andrew Johnson, Electric Field Engineer, ESC PG&E Unit Board Vice President
Caitlin Kniazewycz, Principle Gas Mapping Technician, ESC PG&E Unit Board Treasurer
Christopher Mastin, Field Engineering Technician, ESC Steward
Chuck Nunes, Electric Associate Distribution Engineer, ESC Steward
Rene Vasquez, Senior Electric Estimator, ESC PG&E Unit VP of Divisions
Joe Steinberg, Gas Associate Distribution Engineer, ESC Steward
John Super, Electric Associate Distribution Engineer, ESC Steward
The Union’s Interests
The union’s highest priority is establishing a process for members to engage in pre-arranged overtime during major events while ensuring an equitable distribution of overtime opportunities. The issue arises from the Company’s practice of employing a mix of emergency callouts and pre-arranged overtime to address restoration requirements.
The Committee has presented a potential framework for allocating Pre-Arranged Overtime during major events:
A new list is to be established solely for POT during major events. These lists will be agreed upon by regions (similar in concept to the footprints in LOA 18-03). There will be lists by classification for duties that are needed that correspond to the duties of specific classifications (E.G. Electric Estimators for design, mappers for acceptance of completed packages from the crews) and lists for more general support (911 stand-by, OEC assistance). These lists will be independent of EOT and HQ POT. They will be administered in a manner consistent with the practices for EOT and HQ POT (with posting period, rotation to the member by seniority first then with the least major event POT, new participants to be credited with the member that has the most major event POT plus one hour, etc).
Before formally proposing the above, the Union will conduct member meetings to facilitate discussions and gather input. Members are encouraged to share their thoughts with their Union Representative or a committee member.
Another interest is establishing a unified document outlining the procedures for EOT. Currently, the guidelines for EOT callouts and equal distribution are spread across eight different sources, including guidelines, Memorandums of Understanding, Mutual Reports, and Letters of Agreement.
The Union is keen on addressing the roles of ESC classifications during major events and storms. This includes trends that have reduced the support provided by ESC members in areas like 911 stand-by, OEC support, and field assessment. Additionally, there may be a need to resolve the issue of unequal overtime distribution stemming from the most recent winter storms.
If, after exhausting available qualified volunteers, management wishes to have the ability to mandate that members make pre-arrangements for overtime to support Company operations during major events. Additionally, management desires the ability to instruct members to report to locations other than their usual headquarters.
During the first two meetings, the Union stated that one of the main reasons management struggles to secure enough volunteers is due to the decision made years ago to centralize and relocate mappers away from numerous offices. At that time, the Union pointed out that such a move and the centralization of mapping personnel would hinder local support during storms.
The Union would like to note that management has been using mappers to collect job packages from the crews during major events. These mappers are then responsible for updating PG&E records and databases, ensuring asset information remains current, and enabling accurate operations and planning. The Union applauds this change. For a period of time, mappers were not utilized during storms, leading to instances of years of delays in documenting work performed during storms. The lack of timely documentation created inefficiencies and potential safety issues.
Management expressed an interest in potentially excluding certain members, particularly those in customer-facing roles, from participating in supporting Company operations during major events. The Union voiced apprehension about this interest, as both parties share a mutual commitment to the rendition of Utility service to the public (Title 2 of the Contract). Excluding any members from this commitment would run counter to that commitment.
Management is interested in addressing their perception that the process of going through the callout list using the ARCOS tool to reach an estimator is too time-consuming. They also believe that employee response times need improvement.
Furthermore, management expressed an interest in involving ESC classifications in field assessment. This is a shared interest and signals hope for electric estimators to return to their role in field assessment, ultimately benefiting both PG&E operations and the customers waiting for the restoration of service.
Moving forward, this and other subjects will be discussed at our upcoming ESC PG&E Unit annual meeting on October 17th. Members are encouraged to actively participate and attend the upcoming annual meeting.