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Thread: Indiana USIC Locators

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    Member 4x4jw87's Avatar
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    Default Indiana USIC Locators

    I want to start off by telling everyone who I am. My name is Josh Williamson #130861, I pretty much ran most of Delaware county including the Muncie, Indiana area. My other username is CINUNIONUSIC, I used that to talk with fellow viners when I didnt have a backup job and was scared of losing mine. I left/was fired from USIC in April 2012. I put in my 2 weeks notice and after a week was pulled to Vectren Gas Company to turn in my truck one evening, and got told that we just need to go ahead and cut ties. I of course do not work for USIC, but work for a Great Rural Power Company! In 6 months of working at USIC I made $14 and hour, and left after more than 2 years and made $14 and hour. One of the many reasons that I left there. Not to include being lied to by the DM Blaine and Craig, whatever his title is, about getting another $.50 raise at my one year and never got it. Getting shipped off to work other areas, Indy, with no compensation for drive time at all adding another 3 or 4 hours a day to my already long work day. The GPS spy system, and all of the micromanaging going on with their 10 conference calls a day they all seem to have. The thing that got me the most is when Craig H comes out to meet with my CIN NORTH crew and wants to be our pal and answer all of our questions and lay any rumors aside. You ask him a question and he cant answer it, doesnt know, or just doesnt know what to say. I had respect for Blaine for doing this job for as long as he has, but hes forgotten the very ditch that he located it with all of us and is just another robot now. If you want to fire someone, come fire them. Dont send a messenger.

    I was a very productive locator and always had good numbers. I personally havent gotten in any other trouble with the company for any other reasons than a couple of damages, no hps though. The damages were purely due to being pushed to run through tickets to get numbers. I was personally told by my supervisor that I needed to get as much done asap because even though I could bust my butt to get my numbers he needed more to make up for other locators who couldnt, and I tried my best.

    There is a company wide initiative to get USIC workers together to see what everyone's opinion is about unionizing. I am trying to help out my old Indiana people and work with the union reps to get it through the loops. And its just not Indiana.

    I have talked with guys all over the state of Indiana and everyone says the same thing. They are rushed to the point they make mistakes and put their job at risk, micromanaged, over worked, under paid, not happy with anything at all, and just feel like they are a pawn in a game. Isnt that the majority of peoples thoughts, my opinion. I know that was all of mine, and that just proves that I was not the problem, my crew wasnt the problem, it was the company.

    Even talking with a union rep if you are not up for a union can also be helpful to get more information. Alot of people are against the union based off of misguided information that their buddy knows about. Every contract is different. You might not all make $20 an hour, but you might get good benefits like SM&P and Reliant had at one time. But you never know unless you ask around, and who better than the people that would be speaking for everyone.

    The IBEW guy that is the guy to go to is Mike Green. I have talked with him a bunch personally and know that others have also. His number is 219 204 1560. He is a good guy, and will listen to you. If you are outside of Indiana he would also be a person to talk with to find out a person for your area to talk with within the union, he also works in other states close to Indiana I believe. If talking with Mike is not something that you would like to do, my email is jw4x41987@yahoo.com . Feel free to email me and talk or email me your number and I can even talk with you on the phone. Mike Green has never worked for USIC, but I have. I cant say that I am a fellow USIC employee but I have walked in some of the same shoes as other people there.

    The thing is, everyone is scared to speak. Im not. USIC cannot do anything to me any longer, and im thankful for that. I dont have a personal vedetta against the company, because I have good friends that work there, people that are working just to pay their bills and save up money just in case they are the next victim to mismark something and get fired. I am just lending a helping hand.

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    Senior Member locator00566's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indiana USIC Locators

    My goal is to go one step further than the union and that is to expose USIC and all their dishonest and dangerous policies. Hopefully USIC future downward fall will be an example for the next locating company. Treat your employess with respect and pay them what they are worth, then watch the locate industry change for the better

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    Member 4x4jw87's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indiana USIC Locators

    Quote Originally Posted by locator00566 View Post
    My goal is to go one step further than the union and that is to expose USIC and all their dishonest and dangerous policies. Hopefully USIC future downward fall will be an example for the next locating company. Treat your employess with respect and pay them what they are worth, then watch the locate industry change for the better

    I agree 100%. The biggest lie is to the utilities they work for. Being told to bill out a utility that you didnt mark just so the company can make numbers and make more money. I once thought if I do as good as my body will allow me, then I would get the same treatment in return. Wrong just more lies and slapps in the face. Here is another one for the Indiana guys. I know a guy that got a raise and a bonus check this year. I thought the wage increases were frozen. Now is the time for another company to step up and get USIC's contracts and pick out their good locators and bring them onboard. The number one thing to remember is that there will always be a need and a law for underground locating. some might go to other contract locating companies and some might go to in house with the utility company. but in the end locators will always be needed.

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    Default Re: Indiana USIC Locators

    Right On, People that are afraid or distant about the Union are the ones that have been misinformed. We are Union here in NC and without I got a feeling things would be real bad. Right now things are tense around here since we have picked up Consolidated Locating Co. Their guys were getting treated like crap for years. We(CWA) are in negotiations with USIC over our contract. I hoping things will turn out for the best. I know that USIC is one big ass snake in the grass. Can't turn your back on them.

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    Senior Member locator00566's Avatar
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    Default Re: Indiana USIC Locators

    Quote Originally Posted by CWA MP View Post
    Right On, People that are afraid or distant about the Union are the ones that have been misinformed. We are Union here in NC and without I got a feeling things would be real bad. Right now things are tense around here since we have picked up Consolidated Locating Co. Their guys were getting treated like crap for years. We(CWA) are in negotiations with USIC over our contract. I hoping things will turn out for the best. I know that USIC is one big ass snake in the grass. Can't turn your back on them.
    LOL!!! You guys have been in negotiations for almost 4 years!! When will it be resolved??? Grow a pair and send the guys on strike. Its the only way to get their attention. If your leaders are not willing to do this then please step down and put a leader in there who is not scared of this punk of a company. More of the same equals more of the same. Just my 2 cents

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    Default Re: Indiana USIC Locators

    I agree with all of you. I worked for USIC/CLS for 5 years and now work for another contract locating company. They all the same you are promised everything and then get nothing. By far USIC/CLS is the worst.

    WE, every Damage Prevention Specialistst protects critical and vital infrastructure. DPS is the last line of defence before there is a damage that will somehow tried to be pinned on the locator by the company, utility and contractor. These same companies want to pay you $12 to $16 per hour. They want to micro manage, GPS, Spy Cameras and do everything they can too you even when you do your job. They promise you a raise and then you never get it.

    UNTIL the federal goverment get's involved this will all be the same. I welcome this at this point. It has been shown that NULCA, IBEW unions, going on your own to get certified and the folk who just have the long term experiance 5-10 years+ just are not being paid. We have shitty bennies, low pay, no paid holidays and pay checks that are wrong.

    I have over 25 years in damage prevention. In that time I have work for the goverment, contractors and contract locating. There is nothing out there for US!! We are on our own as long as utilities and the companies that bid on the contract lowball the contract, things will never change.

    OK I will get off my

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Indiana USIC Locators

    Congratulations on getting out of Contract locating.

    So.... here is my take on the situation. (Please tell me to "F" off at any time).

    I understand the sentiment towards both the contract locating company and towards the Union for coming to the rescue. However, I believe that the hatred for the contract locating company is over emphasized. There is no true dichotomy in this situation. It is not black and white. USIC is not pure Evil, and the Union is not the knight in shining armor.

    In a situation where there is a large unspoken "catch 22" , both parties are over stating their importance and not concentrating on the true issue at hand. The Contract locating companies sole purpose for being is to make money. They don't care about utilities or their employees. Their main concern is their profit margine. With that being said, they are fulfilling a contract that was agreed upon by two seperate parties. The contract locating company and the Utility Company. Since the contract locating company is fulfilling its main purpose by maintaining a profit, you have to look at the primary concern of the other party.

    The Utility company cares about profit, but also cares about its infrastructure. They have a vested interest in maintaining their utilities however, they have found out that if you contract this "Protection" out to a contract locating company they can lower their overhead while increasing their profit and top it all off...... No liability when it comes do the damaging of utilities. No matter what happens a damage will never be thier fault.

    As soon as the first utility company contracted out this service, it was the start of the catch 22 and the inevitable colapse of the wages and benefits of the "Utility Locator". (You can dress up the name, but we are still a locator) Contract companies low bid the contract, and the utility starts to undervalue the locator. While they undervalue the locator by paying less for the contract locate firm, they force the locate firm to provide the same service for less money.

    Now the contract firm cannot raise the rates because they will be undercut by the next locate firm. Now we add the Union into the mix. The Union is going to be bound by the same contract that is signed by the contract locating firm and the Utility. They can help with the negotiation of a new contract but as we can see..... Contracts change hands enough to make it difficult for the union to get a foot hold. As for the currently union shops, Congrats. I'm pretty sure that the union has helped delay the fall of the contraact locating industry.... but its only a delay. If the unions were in it to help the locating industry they would use their current contracts and members to help fortify the position of the locators. They won't. You won't see an electrician go on strike to help a locator. Why would you go on strike and give up your union wage for someone who is making about half of what you are with less certifications? It doesn't make sense.

    The only way out that I see is to get the utility companies to go inhouse again. Instead of contracting out all the locates they could contract out half of the locates and keep the other half in-house and keep the contract for the locators inline with the pay that the "in-house" guys have. If they do the same job, they should get the same hourly. The benefits however, will never be as high as an "in-house" locator.

    In stead of focusing solely on the Evil locating companies, try to work on the utility companies themselves, they hold the money and contract that the locate companies are bound by.

    mke

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    Default Re: Indiana USIC Locators

    I couldn't agree more. It is a very simple interest that both parties have. You really cannot blame the utility companies per say for absolving them-self of liability 100% while making a bigger profit by contracting the locates out. And USIC is trying to fulfill they're contractual obligation and make as much of a profit as humanly possible. (Even if that means losing employees constantly, and playing the revolving door hiring game.) It is a very very viscous cycle, and I find myself simplifying it to clients who ask about the industry on a regular basis. Unfortunately I can't see an easy way around this...working the utility companies even seems like fighting an uphill battle - it will definitely take some real changes in the industry to make things better on the contract locate side. Great explanation Mke.

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    Default Re: Indiana USIC Locators

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    Default Re: Indiana USIC Locators

    Quote Originally Posted by locator00566 View Post
    LOL!!! You guys have been in negotiations for almost 4 years!! When will it be resolved??? Grow a pair and send the guys on strike. Its the only way to get their attention. If your leaders are not willing to do this then please step down and put a leader in there who is not scared of this punk of a company. More of the same equals more of the same. Just my 2 cents
    We will voting very soon on our contract, very soon. As far as whether it goes yeah or neah, we will have to wait and see. Even with us being under negotiations for a few years we were better off than some of the other states the company is in.

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    Default Re: Indiana USIC Locators

    Quote Originally Posted by locator00566 View Post
    My goal is to go one step further than the union and that is to expose USIC and all their dishonest and dangerous policies. Hopefully USIC future downward fall will be an example for the next locating company. Treat your employess with respect and pay them what they are worth, then watch the locate industry change for the better

    you can;t forget about the mass firring of all the people who had workmans comp claims

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