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Mke

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  1. superman's Avatar
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    Mke, you say your not "Anti Union", but you have come up with all negative comments on your feelings of possible improvements with the exception of on call pay. I feel that most of your remarks are not realistic and are of anti union beliefs. Sorry, but that say's me.
    All American likes this.
  2. Mke's Avatar
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    Kal-El, I don't hate unions...I hate tactics. The way they recruit (like our situation), and how they protest.

    I dig the concept and am not against it. I'm against them trying to inflate their ranks in an existing union by just adding a few locators (untill the contract expires).

    Longshoremen storm Wash. state port, damage RR

    Kitzhaber steps into Port of Portland chaos again as trucking companies impose surcharges, blame longshore workers | OregonLive.com

    How can you defend these tactics? In the first one they actually commendeared a security car and ran it into a ditch.

    Too this day, even though the NLRB and several judges have stated that the union needs to cease and dissist all slowdowns at T-6... they have yet to comply.

    The Union I have more respect for are the trade unions. However, they are not set up to accept locators. They may have electricians that can locate, but they are not prepared for people who only locate.

    The points I bring up in this post are honest concerns that won't be addressed by any union recruiter other then to say, "we will negotiate for the best possible outcome for our union members".

    So other then my comment about not being Anti-Union, what do you think about my reasoning?

    mke
    daman1 likes this.
  3. superman's Avatar
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    UNION WORKERS HAVE BETTER BENEFITS

    Union workers are more likely than their nonunion counterparts to receive health care and pension benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In 1999, 73 percent of union workers in medium and large establishments had medical care benefits, compared with only 51 percent of nonunion workers. Union workers are also more likely to have retirement and short-term disability benefits.


    UNION WORKERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO HAVE
    HEALTH AND PENSION BENEFITS, 1999

    79% of union workers have pension plans versus 44 percent of nonunion workers. Seventy percent of union workers have defined-benefit retirement coverage, compared with 16 percent of nonunion workers. Defined-benefit plans are federally insured and provide a guaranteed monthly pension amount. They are better for workers than defined-contribution plans, in which the benefit amount depends on how well the underlying investments perform.

    Members Run the Union!
    •You elect your own local union officers.

    •You run your own local union affairs.

    •You have your own negotiating committee.

    •You make the decisions on your own union contract.

    •You have your own shop stewards.

    •You decide important policies and actions of your own union by majority vote.

    •You elect your international union officers.

    •You elect your own delegates to the international conventions.

    •You -- the membership -- are the final voice of authority and decision in your Union.
    All American likes this.
  4. All American's Avatar
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    MKE, you sound like a true liberal "Union Buster" The unity and bargaining power of any formed or current union would be much better than where I am today. Yes I would want people in the Industry to represent the majority. That is kind of the whole point. I don't want someone representing me that has no idea about the trade. As for your Holiday comment, I don't know where you work but I know I have worked a lot of holidays and Sundays for straight time or time and a half. By bullying from management, how many of your managers pass off your tickets to another locator and drop your hours during the week, so they can work you on the weekend without it being over time.... or here's a better example, you were on call for two days and got a ton of hours, during the following days management takes tickets off your board and gives you shorter days to keep from paying as much in overtime. If you are going to have a run at a unionization, you better be willing to stand up for what you want and need out of it and you better start your bargaining really high.

    Union Buster, What say you?
  5. All American's Avatar
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    Example:
    THINGS TO SHOOT FOR ON A 3 YEAR CONTRACT
    1. $5.50 per hour, pay increase. 60% ($3.30) effective at time of contract signing and through the first year of contract. Effective on the first day of the second year 20% ($1.10) pay raise. Effective on the first day of the third year 20% ($1.10) pay raise.

    2. Benefits and cost remains the same as 2015 enrollment period.


    3. All Federal Holidays off of work with a paid 8 hours at regular rate of pay.

    4. 8 hour work days. 7am to 3:30pm or 8am to 4:30pm, with mandatory 30 minute lunch

    5. Over time – 8 hours per day at regular rate of pay, over 8 hours and under to include 12 hours at one plus one half times regular rate of pay, over 12 hours until midnight at double times regular rate of pay.

    6. Working on a Federal Holiday, double times regular rate of pay up to 8 hours, 8 hours to midnight at triple times regular rate of pay.

    7. Weekend work – Saturdays, 8 hours at one plus one half times regular rate of pay, 8 hours to midnight at double times regular rate of pay. Sundays, 8 hours at double times regular rate of pay, 8 hours to midnight at triple times rate of pay.

    8. Vacation time – 6 months to 1 year of service = 40 hours of vacation. 1 year to 3 years of service = 80 hours of vacation. 3 years to 5 years of service = 96 hours of vacation. 5 years to 20 years of service = 120 hours of vacation, 20 years to retirement = 8 additional hours of vacation per each additional year of service.

    9. Personal/sick time – 1 year to 3 years of service = 0 hours, 3 years to retirement = 40 hours.
    Justina likes this.
  6. All American's Avatar
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    JOINING OR CREATING A UNION FOR LOCATORS WILL HELP KEEP MORE OF AN EVEN PLAYING FIELD WHEN IT COMES TO PREVENTING USIC FROM UNDER BIDDING EVERYONE.
    LOCATORS IN INDIANA ARE HOPING TO GET OVERWHELMING SUPPORT, FROM THE REST OF THE COUNTRY TO EITHER JOIN A UNION OR CREATE ONE.
    THE TIME TO START ORGANIZING IS NOW AND MAKE THE PUSH COME SPRING OF 2015.
    Employer Tactics
    Unions mean more power for workers to bargain for better wages and benefits. For management, however, a union means less power and control. As a result, many employers tend to resort to both subtle and drastic measures to keep workers from speaking out. When workers stick together they can overcome management’s tactics and, in the end, make a better place to work for everyone.

    Many employers respect workers’ rights and basic freedom to choose when it comes to union representation but sometimes they try to get in the way. It is important for you to know that you might encounter an employer that may attempt to coerce, manipulate, bribe, or even threaten you.

    Typical Threats

    Some companies that feel threatened by the idea of their workers being represented by a union sometimes resort to various tactics in order to keep you from organizing. These include love tactics and scare tactics that, while opposite in their approach, can both have equally damaging effect for workers trying to get an independent voice at work.

    Love Tactics
    Your employer might try to sway you from supporting a union by saying


    • "Give us a chance"
    Employers may admit to making mistakes assuring that those mistakes will be remedied and will never occur again. Management may send out "love letters," which formally apologize for any wrong doings in the past and make promises for a better future.
    (USIC has been given chance after chance to only come back and not change a thing except expect more, push more, demand more, try to control more and simply brush off the employees)

    • Bribes
    Your company may implement temporary changes or improvements in reaction to a union organizing campaign. These changes rarely last beyond the campaign because the employer has no reason to uphold them when the threat of a union goes away. Your employer is free to make these changes after your store votes for or against union representation, but it is illegal for the employer to interfere with the campaign.
    (USIC tried to give pennies on the dollar in “secret” raises, during the union push in 2013. These raises amounted to cents only. Cents on the dollar is not worth keeping it the way it is. Real money talks and that is the opportunity that we have with the union at our side.)


    • A Sudden Change in Attitude
    The attitude of your employer towards you and your fellow workers might dramatically improve. Management is suddenly very concerned with showing you how much they appreciate and respect you as a member of the company. Activities, such as lunches, dinners and picnics, are organized for workers and their families – activities that did not exist before the union began the organizing campaign.
    (This was something that USIC did not do in 2013, because it costs them money. It would take out of management’s bonuses. We usually meet once a year at around the beginning of December for lunch somewhere. We are always reminded of a per person price limit.)
    Scare Tactics
    Or your employer might try to sway you from supporting a union by saying . . . . .
    • Management Won’t Listen to the Union
    Management wants you to believe that workers coming together in a union have little power and that, should the workplace become unionized, management won’t bargain with the workers or comply with the workers’ contract. What management doesn’t want you to know is that, by federal law, they must cooperate when workers form a union.
    (Everyone will have to be mindful of this and stick together! Leaking out and trying to deal with management one on one will hurt the campaign. This will show management that they can break your unity on this issue. This will cause them to have the upper hand)
    • Threatening Your Benefits
    It is against the law to threaten your benefits as punishment for supporting a union.
    (Benefits are costly at USIC as is, don’t fall for this. Unity will get us what we want/need. Report any of these threats or talk thereof, to the group so we can notify the union Business Agent (BA) of the infractions)
    • Pressuring Team Leaders and Supervisors
    Management may pressure your supervisors to subtly, or not so subtly, spread anti-union messages around your store. Many times, supervisors will use their personal relationships with employees to manipulate and harass. Again, under federal law, management is not allowed to promote, recruit, or fund any form of anti-union committee.
    (There are no personal relationships with supervisors or management any way. How many times has your supervisor or manager called to say hey or called to check on you when you’re sick or a family member is ill? They only call when you have done something wrong or they need something from you.)
    • We’re a Family - We’re a Team
    Management might organize a mandatory meeting in order to spread an anti-union message throughout your workplace, emphasizing that the company is a family and should stand united against the union. It is not unusual for anti-union videos and other forms of propaganda to be shown at these meetings.
    (During the 2013 organization attempt, management continually sent emails like this. If we are such a family and such a team, then why are we as the actual locators always considered guilty until proven innocent on damages etc. A family and a team would try to prove the contractor is at fault first, and always have their family and teams back first.)
    • Anti-Union Consultants
    Management may get so desperate that they hire highly paid union-busting consultants. These people are paid to keep workers from forming a union at any cost. Many times, employers pay these people as much as, or more than, it would cost to make workplace improvements that would benefit workers.
    (You will know when this has happened. There will be rumor mills of rats, rumors of employee misconduct, many videos of ACTORS portraying the union as bad. Look into “union busters” on the internet.)
    • Strikes
    The reality of strikes is that it’s your choice. Unions will examine all other alternatives before a strike is deemed necessary. Statistically, less than 1% of thousands of UFCW negotiated contracts end in strikes. Only members can decide to strike.
    (None of you are stupid to believe management will push it to a strike. If you are unified in mass, you could hurt the company more than they can hurt you. There are not enough employees anywhere that could back fill enough to cover your entire areas. They will act like they are not worried about this, when they in fact know that a strike caused by the company refusing contract issues, will shut the company down and cost them a lot of customers in the mean time. You all know how supervisors and management are all about keeping their customers happy.)
    • $ Money, Money, Money $
    Your employer may attempt to frighten you with talk about all the money you will pay if you form a union. However, these claims are false. When workers come together to form a union at their workplace, they aren’t required to pay any of the costs associated with it. You will pay dues only when you have a contract. But dues bring large rewards in pay raises, benefits, job security, representation and working conditions. The added pay and benefits workers receive through belonging to the union are much more than the cost of union dues. The dues go to pay for organizers, legal assistance, support staff, rent, materials, etc. which are all needed to maintain good contracts and adequate representation. No one pays dues until the workers have voted to accept a contract.
    (Dues are usually between $25 and $45 a month. Getting a pay raise will more than cover the cost of that of course. You don’t have to be a mathematician to see that the dues are simply $1 to $2 per work day. With a significant pay raise, you will never miss it.)


    UNITY IN MASS IS KEY!!!!!!!!!!
  7. All American's Avatar
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    Very well put.


    Quote Originally Posted by superman
    UNION WORKERS HAVE BETTER BENEFITS

    Union workers are more likely than their nonunion counterparts to receive health care and pension benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In 1999, 73 percent of union workers in medium and large establishments had medical care benefits, compared with only 51 percent of nonunion workers. Union workers are also more likely to have retirement and short-term disability benefits.


    UNION WORKERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO HAVE
    HEALTH AND PENSION BENEFITS, 1999

    79% of union workers have pension plans versus 44 percent of nonunion workers. Seventy percent of union workers have defined-benefit retirement coverage, compared with 16 percent of nonunion workers. Defined-benefit plans are federally insured and provide a guaranteed monthly pension amount. They are better for workers than defined-contribution plans, in which the benefit amount depends on how well the underlying investments perform.

    Members Run the Union!
    •You elect your own local union officers.

    •You run your own local union affairs.

    •You have your own negotiating committee.

    •You make the decisions on your own union contract.

    •You have your own shop stewards.

    •You decide important policies and actions of your own union by majority vote.

    •You elect your international union officers.

    •You elect your own delegates to the international conventions.

    •You -- the membership -- are the final voice of authority and decision in your Union.
  8. Mke's Avatar
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    AA, Thank you for adding name calling to the discussion. I'm sorry you were not able to add anything else besides more talking points as per the Union borchure.

    Please at any time, include personal opinions and personal observations that could help further this discussion.

    As for your multiple posts, Starting from the bottom working to the top. Kal-el did a great job posting all the same bullet points that you so graciously re-stated and added to.

    Unfortunately, neither you or Kal-el have actually addy anything besides these bullet points. You guys have not addressed the simple fact that their is not a "Brotherhood of Union Locators" so what will end up happening would be an existing union will try to pull the industry into an existing union. I have constantly stated my concerns with this and no one.... not you, not sup, not the random union rep that logs in to "feel our strife" replys or even attempts to answer any concerns i, and others have listed.

    In the rhetoric you have listed, I have seen nothing but vauge plans that are always based on the bargining of the contract. The emphasis is always put on what "Could" be gained and nothing put on what could be lossed.

    As alot of locators in the midwest have personally seen, if a contract locating company loses a contract they are out of a job. The likely event of this is extremely high considering how the industry is set up.

    The only thing you said which I agree with is, "UNITY IN MASS IS KEY". Unfortunately, you mean this to support the union. We, as an industry should not support the union which is not designed specifically for our industry. We need to unite to support the Locators. The only way to improve conditions is to put value back into what we do.

    You can preach your rhetoric as much as you want on this blog, but please try to pepper in some personal experience with it. I have sat down with local union reps who have attempted to unionize the local troops. He spoke the same talking points. When it comes down to it, they can not promise anything. They will only state that they will bargin on our behalf to get better bennifits. They don't guarantee to get them, they just guarantee to bargin on your behalf.

    With no guarantees you have to rely on your own interpretation of the facts. This is exactly where I am, still waiting for Superman's and your responses.

    As for your initial post and concern about my "Holiday" comment. Let me give you a bit of background on myself. I have been in the utility field since 2000. Most of which has been as a utility locator. I had one year as a MeterReader. My Locating career has been predominately in the Private side of things, I however, started as a public locator locating 3 counties and 5 utilities.

    I currently have been "On-call" 24/7/365 since my hire date with the new company back in 07. I have only reliquished the on-call status when I flew to Orlando on vacation (which I still answered work related calls). I have not only worked multiple holidays, weekends, nights, you name it, but I also have had to pull double shifts on those said days as well depending on the circumstances.

    As for managers, I have been threatened to be sued by my employer for applying for a different job. I had to pay over 5k in lawyers fee's just to work through the bullshit letters sent to me by my employer. I can go into a shit load more detail if you like, but will save you the long dissertation.

    I will cut to the point for you. I have been shit on like all locators. Multiple times, with multiple flavors. I continually get shit upon till this day. I still work just as hard because it is my job. What I try to do now is to educate people who are not locators to inform them why the industry sucks, while still trying to maintain the importance of locating and not bashing other locators.

    As locators, we need to persue a path to benefit locating. Not just a bandaid.
    daman1 likes this.
  9. TheCableVine's Avatar
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    There is only one thing to know about unions and locating. Unions = higher cost to operate. Higher cost is passed on to the customer. Customer wants lower cost so they drop the union locating company and give the contract to a non-union company.

    It really is as simple as that. You can unionize all you want but it will be short lived and the union will leave you stranded with no job after taking your union dues. Union wins. Locator loses.
    Mke, Tom Edward and Spudzruz like this.
  10. superman's Avatar
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    Should we keep it the way it is now and continue to get sqrewed by the company so they can keep their contract? What are we supposed to do Steve, keep taking it up the arse? What is your answer to the problems? The customer will not give the contract away around here anyways because the locating company already has all of the customers around, which means they are already doing it for peanuts. The locating company would simply have to raise the rate up from peanuts to pennies on the dollar if we were to go union. That's something that the competitors can not compete with unless they were to take all the contracts. What's the chances of that?
    Updated November 22nd, 2014 at 05:32 PM by superman
  11. superman's Avatar
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    Mke, I have voiced my interest in your logic in several post. I believe I have even sent you my personal phone # so we could talk more about what your proposing. I have even sent you private messages asking about your logic. Your way sounds great, but the problem is that nobody seems to want to go that route.

    AA mentioned creating our own union, which is what I thought you were interested in, but you shot him down. I will listen to whatever you or anybody else has to say about our situation. I may not agree with everything, but we got to start somewhere right? To tell you the truth Mke, I think I'm more interested in what you are proposing, but you have even stated that it would take way too long to get initiated.

    Getting into a local IBEW would be the easiest, quickest, most logical way to solve some of the issues at hand right now. I have been in the IBEW as a locator and as I have stated before, it was great. Would not have changed anything.

    As for what you have stated that "the union can't make promises", yes you are correct. But at the same time your locating company will make broken promises. Mine has. The union will put their/your promises in writing with a contract. Your locating company puts nothing in writing except their rules and regulations, not yours. You also say that the union will only bargain on the locators behalf to get better benefits. HELLO..., that's the whole point here.

    As I have stated before, whatever works to better our profession, hey I'm all for it. My only logic is that I know what the IBEW did for me and it could again real quickly if we so desire. The other way would take so long that it would seem like a losing battle.

    Thanks,

    Kal-El
    Updated November 22nd, 2014 at 10:24 PM by superman
  12. Mke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superman
    Should we keep it the way it is now and continue to get sqrewed by the company so they can keep their contract? What are we supposed to do Steve, keep taking it up the arse? What is your answer to the problems? The customer will not give the contract away around here anyways because the locating company already has all of the customers around, which means they are already doing it for peanuts. The locating company would simply have to raise the rate up from peanuts to pennies on the dollar if we were to go union. That's something that the competitors can not compete with unless they were to take all the contracts. What's the chances of that?
    Sup, We honestly know how you feel. Even though we are in different positions now, if you are a locator, you have been in this situation from one time to another. I wish people woudn't liken my position as being against the lcoators getting better benefits. My position is strictly with the locator not getting "F"ed. I couldn't risk losing my paycheck and I don't other locators should have to risk losing theirs either. You can say, "You can't get fired for unionizing". You are correct, but since our industry is based on yearly contracts with automatic renewals, it wouldn't take much to lose a contract if the work force decided to change the playing field.

    I believe it would be easier to get certified than unionized. I believe that the ends would be more secure as well.

    The only thing that AA said which is true is that the industry needs to be together. The horrible part is that the industry is cut-throat and companies will not willingly work together for any reason.

    mke
  13. Mke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superman
    Mke, I have voiced my interest in your logic in several post. I believe I have even sent you my personal phone # so we could talk more about what your proposing. I have even sent you private messages asking about your logic. Your way sounds great, but the problem is that nobody seems to want to go that route.

    AA mentioned creating our own union, which is what I thought you were interested in, but you shot him down. I will listen to whatever you or anybody else has to say about our situation. I may not agree with everything, but we got to start somewhere right? To tell you the truth Mke, I think I'm more interested in what you are proposing, but you have even stated that it would take way too long to get initiated.

    Getting into a local IBEW would be the easiest, quickest, most logical way to solve some of the issues at hand right now. I have been in the IBEW as a locator and as I have stated before, it was great. Would not have changed anything.

    As for what you have stated that "the union can't make promises", yes you are correct. But at the same time your locating company will make broken promises. Mine has. The union will put their/your promises in writing with a contract. Your locating company puts nothing in writing except their rules and regulations, not yours. You also say that the union will only bargain on the locators behalf to get better benefits. HELLO..., that's the whole point here.

    As I have stated before, whatever works to better our profession, hey I'm all for it. My only logic is that I know what the IBEW did for me and it could again real quickly if we so desire. The other way would take so long that it would seem like a losing battle.

    Thanks,

    Kal-El
    Ok Sup. You have contacted me, and I haven't been too involved. To my defense, I'm still a locator and spray paint more then I type. I also have a new employee who's underperforming. To top it all off, I have a 11 year old autistic boy who is home schooled. My Dance card is full.

    Most of what I can try to do is locally with the Local MUCC. Communicate and educate. That's my main objective. I know it doesn't help you too much, but we have to do changes locally. I carry no weight anywhere else, hell, I barely carry any weight here.

    You, with your previous experience with the IBEW should be able to tell us what exactly happens when they cover locators. How long were you a member? How did it end? Did they try to help the locators in the end?

    mke
  14. superman's Avatar
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    Mke, I'm very sorry to here that about your boy. We have a 7 year old nephew with the same condition.

    Now, as far as the IBEW. I was still kinda new in the locating industry when I became unionized. I remember signing an interest card, but I was not a part of the negotiations so I didn't know what was happening until it was already done. This was in the early 2000's. I do remember that I went from $12.00/hr straight to $14.75/hr. That right there itself more than paid for my dues. After 54 months (4 1/2 yrs) I went to $16.50/hr which was top pay. We had certified levels of locator's, new hire, level 1, 2 and 3 with 3 being the highest level. Our supervisor had to take us out and make us take an actual locating test on the utilities that we marked for. If we didn't pass, then we didn't move up to the next level which meant we didn't get a pay raise either. I remember that level 3 had to know pretty much everything about locating, how to induce, how to locate 6 primaries coming out of a switchgear, when to do this, when to do that, etc. I think if we had this sort of standard set up right now, we would not have such a large turnover ratio. It would give all the newbies something to pursue and be challenged by. Something to set a goal for so to speak. Right now, newbies have nothing to shoot for. The company tells them if they do this and that, then they will get such and such raise after so much time put in. Then they do what they should do, and then don't get what the company promised them.

    We also got 8 hrs plus 1/2 for anything after 8, double time on holidays. We got a $100 clothing allowance every year. We did not get the extra day's off that AA was talking about which I think that would only hurt us anyways. We always have that double day of tickets.

    Management could not take any hours away from you, ie doing emergencies for you. If there was no work the next day, then they had to inform you by 9:00 p.m. the night before or you would be paid for 2 hours. We got a minimum of 2 hours for any call out. On-call pay went from $35 to $50.

    It all came to an end when my little company of about 300 locators was bought out by SM&P in 2006. That little company was only in 1 full state and about 1/4 of another state so the Local IBEW was able to cover the whole locating company. That's something that could not happen with a company as large as USIC.

    I was fortunate to move over to SM&P, but the union could not come with me. I could have continued to pay my dues to stay in that particular union, but why, I had lost all my perks. I'm sure there are other perks that I'm forgetting about, it's been almost 10 years ago.

    Thanks,

    Sup...


    Quote Originally Posted by Mke
    Ok Sup. You have contacted me, and I haven't been too involved. To my defense, I'm still a locator and spray paint more then I type. I also have a new employee who's underperforming. To top it all off, I have a 11 year old autistic boy who is home schooled. My Dance card is full.

    Most of what I can try to do is locally with the Local MUCC. Communicate and educate. That's my main objective. I know it doesn't help you too much, but we have to do changes locally. I carry no weight anywhere else, hell, I barely carry any weight here.

    You, with your previous experience with the IBEW should be able to tell us what exactly happens when they cover locators. How long were you a member? How did it end? Did they try to help the locators in the end?

    mke
    Updated November 25th, 2014 at 06:32 AM by superman
  15. TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Superman... You want my solution? Work to get Federal and State guidelines for Utility Locators. Standardized training and certification. Doing that alone will make the utility locator a commodity instead of an easily replaced monkey. You will become a sought after skilled tradesman. The local locate company hires out of the newspaper/craigslist/etc... has a 2 week class for THREE utilities and then lets them go into the field. If that company can acquire employees so easily then the demand for experienced employees is very low. It is a simple supply and demand issue. All American wants a $5.50 increase in pay. That alone will kill the contract. That would be like me opening a burger joint and hiring my staff at $18.00 an hour. I couldn't do it because the hamburgers would be double the price of my competitor down the street.

    The truth is you and I are unskilled labor. You can fight for unions all you want but as soon as you become unionized the contract will be gone. NO CONTRACT NO JOB. Thanks union. Maybe you can protest in front of the company that now has your contract and call them scabs and union busters. Truth is YOU took the money out of your own kids mouths by demanding something from the market that the market can't provide.

    Certification is the first solution. 2nd solution? Find another job that pays better. I'm not trying to be harsh but that is the facts as I see them. Until licensing or certification comes along that makes it harder to become a locator (thus fewer locators = higher demand) you will always be earning in the low end of the pay scale.
    Updated November 25th, 2014 at 09:27 PM by TheCableVine
  16. Mke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superman
    Mke, I'm very sorry to here that about your boy. We have a 7 year old nephew with the same condition.

    Now, as far as the IBEW. I was still kinda new in the locating industry when I became unionized. I remember signing an interest card, but I was not a part of the negotiations so I didn't know what was happening until it was already done. This was in the early 2000's. I do remember that I went from $12.00/hr straight to $14.75/hr. That right there itself more than paid for my dues. After 54 months (4 1/2 yrs) I went to $16.50/hr which was top pay. We had certified levels of locator's, new hire, level 1, 2 and 3 with 3 being the highest level. Our supervisor had to take us out and make us take an actual locating test on the utilities that we marked for. If we didn't pass, then we didn't move up to the next level which meant we didn't get a pay raise either. I remember that level 3 had to know pretty much everything about locating, how to induce, how to locate 6 primaries coming out of a switchgear, when to do this, when to do that, etc. I think if we had this sort of standard set up right now, we would not have such a large turnover ratio. It would give all the newbies something to pursue and be challenged by. Something to set a goal for so to speak. Right now, newbies have nothing to shoot for. The company tells them if they do this and that, then they will get such and such raise after so much time put in. Then they do what they should do, and then don't get what the company promised them.

    We also got 8 hrs plus 1/2 for anything after 8, double time on holidays. We got a $100 clothing allowance every year. We did not get the extra day's off that AA was talking about which I think that would only hurt us anyways. We always have that double day of tickets.

    Management could not take any hours away from you, ie doing emergencies for you. If there was no work the next day, then they had to inform you by 9:00 p.m. the night before or you would be paid for 2 hours. We got a minimum of 2 hours for any call out. On-call pay went from $35 to $50.

    It all came to an end when my little company of about 300 locators was bought out by SM&P in 2006. That little company was only in 1 full state and about 1/4 of another state so the Local IBEW was able to cover the whole locating company. That's something that could not happen with a company as large as USIC.

    I was fortunate to move over to SM&P, but the union could not come with me. I could have continued to pay my dues to stay in that particular union, but why, I had lost all my perks. I'm sure there are other perks that I'm forgetting about, it's been almost 10 years ago.

    Thanks,

    Sup...
    Kal-el,

    I couldn't of asked for a better kid. He's a hoot. As you and your family have probably noticed. The disability is an eye opener, but you love'em just the same.

    As for the state of the industry. Here are some road blocks that we face in the idea of unionizing and no one addresses these.

    1) There will be no unity from the compition. If one company loses the contract, the next company will step right on in without the union.

    2) Being represented by an Electrical union is fine, but we don't just locate Electrical. Again, we are just shoe horned in temporarily.

    3) If our wages inflate enough to be even close to the lowest rung in the union, our jobs will be pulled "in-house" and performed by licensed electricians or pipe fitters or who ever is working on the utility that we are supposed to locate.

    4) Unskilled labor doesn't last in a skilled union. Even though they will make up "tests" to meet the criteria the union has placed on all positions. It is not a true certification.



    I agree with Steve on the plan of action. The biggest thing we can do is try to amend the state One-call laws to state, "Certified Utility Locator" in reference to who is allowed to mark underground facilities.

    Just that act alone will put the state on its heels looking for a way to certify all the locators out there. Hopefully we can insert ourselves into a position to help guide our industry at that time.

    mke
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