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Thread: USIC Insurance Changes

  1. #16
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    I would like to put my 2 cents in here.. I have been doing this job for many years I have been threw many up's and down's with this industry.. BUT I feel that USIC is doing nothing but running GOOD to GREAT employees out the door, I feel that yes they are cutting anything to make there financials look better and to also make there pockets fatter.... I mean come on what happened to loyalty to your employees? They demand soooo much out of us but when it comes to "feeding the work horses" we get table scraps.... We DO NOT get paid nearly enuff to put up with the mental physical and moral stress we endure on a day to day basis, not only do we suffer but our familys suffer as much if not more!!

  2. #17
    Senior Member big boots mcghee's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by Locating Fool View Post
    I would like to put my 2 cents in here.. I have been doing this job for many years I have been threw many up's and down's with this industry.. BUT I feel that USIC is doing nothing but running GOOD to GREAT employees out the door, I feel that yes they are cutting anything to make there financials look better and to also make there pockets fatter.... I mean come on what happened to loyalty to your employees? They demand soooo much out of us but when it comes to "feeding the work horses" we get table scraps.... We DO NOT get paid nearly enuff to put up with the mental physical and moral stress we endure on a day to day basis, not only do we suffer but our familys suffer as much if not more!!
    Don't blame USIC entirely. Blame the corporation that owns them, OMERS. They're a private equity firm that bought USIC in April 2010. If you want to look back to see when things started going badly, you need look no further than then. Prior to that, USIC made some changes here and there, but they were done due to the recession, and to retain it's workforce during the recession. When USIC was shuffling things around during the recession, I truly believe it was for the benefit of it's employees. Once OMERS entered the picture and started changing everything, it was to make their money at the expense of the USIC employees. As long as OMERS is in the picture, I do not feel my job is safe.

    Does anyone know why USIC sold to OMERS in the first place? Were they just looking for solid financial backing? Or did they do it knowing what would happen to the company?

    I will say this, and I'm not the only person that saw it: Mike Stayton looked very uncomfortable in his recent video messages to the USIC workforce, especially the first one. Was it because OMERS made decisions that he didn't want? Or that he knew how badly these changes were going to affect the workforce he had spent the previous two years promoting USIC as a family, career oriented place to work.
    My boots may be red but I'm no clown.

  3. #18
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    I believe it was both, they wanted someone with deep pockets so they could "GROW" Kinda reminds me of an old board game we used to play when we were kids... I think we ALL know the name.... And yes I agree they did it with some intuition on what would happen. I do agree that Staten looked a little uneasy but wouldn't you if you had to break that kind of news? He wanted to make the changes but didn't want to break the news.. His pockets are not lacking anything during all of this, But ours are.. Funny how that works! We are all "Peons" we don't matter. its going to a "production" company now who cares about quality, and that is from their mouths. Shows our "LOYALTY" to our customers..

  4. #19
    Senior Member 6feetunder's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    Any ideas on what their new slogan should be? How about " Take this up your A55 and make us more money " or " Screw the customer and their infrastructure and just show us the money!!! "
    Life's a garden, dig it! - Joe Dirt

  5. #20
    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by big boots mcghee View Post
    Don't blame USIC entirely. Blame the corporation that owns them, OMERS. They're a private equity firm that bought USIC in April 2010. If you want to look back to see when things started going badly, you need look no further than then. Prior to that, USIC made some changes here and there, but they were done due to the recession, and to retain it's workforce during the recession. When USIC was shuffling things around during the recession, I truly believe it was for the benefit of it's employees. Once OMERS entered the picture and started changing everything, it was to make their money at the expense of the USIC employees. As long as OMERS is in the picture, I do not feel my job is safe.

    Does anyone know why USIC sold to OMERS in the first place? Were they just looking for solid financial backing? Or did they do it knowing what would happen to the company?

    I will say this, and I'm not the only person that saw it: Mike Stayton looked very uncomfortable in his recent video messages to the USIC workforce, especially the first one. Was it because OMERS made decisions that he didn't want? Or that he knew how badly these changes were going to affect the workforce he had spent the previous two years promoting USIC as a family, career oriented place to work.
    Boots, USIC was constructed by a private equity firm, Kohlberg LLC. They purchased SM&P from the Laclede group, and CLS from Asplundh. They combined the two, stripped things down and tightened things up and sold out to OMERS.

    Let me be clear here. I do not work for USIC. I have observed all of these companies for well over a decade. In my opinion, things started to get bad for your locators right after Kohlberg took over. I base my opinion on the conversations I have had with dozens of locators in multiple states. I think I have a unique and valuable perspective as an outsider who knows locating. And frankly, judging by the many times your coworkers have asked my opinion and feedback on their work issues, I would say they feel that way as well. I believe that once Kohlberg came in and chased out the guys who were cheating, or often NOT CHEATING, many of your locators thought that you had tightened things up, and that you would all weather the storm together. Nothing could be further from the truth. These people are here to make money, period. By hook, by crook, or by cooking the books. Whatever it takes. Educate yourself guy and girls. Find out the history of the company you work for, and try to figure out if there is a future there for you. Good Luck to you all.

  6. #21
    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by Locating Fool View Post
    I believe it was both, they wanted someone with deep pockets so they could "GROW" Kinda reminds me of an old board game we used to play when we were kids... I think we ALL know the name.... And yes I agree they did it with some intuition on what would happen. I do agree that Staten looked a little uneasy but wouldn't you if you had to break that kind of news? He wanted to make the changes but didn't want to break the news.. His pockets are not lacking anything during all of this, But ours are.. Funny how that works! We are all "Peons" we don't matter. its going to a "production" company now who cares about quality, and that is from their mouths. Shows our "LOYALTY" to our customers..
    Where I come from, we have a saying. " If you want loyalty, buy yourself a dog."

  7. #22
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by Locating Fool View Post
    I would like to put my 2 cents in here.. I have been doing this job for many years I have been threw many up's and down's with this industry.. BUT I feel that USIC is doing nothing but running GOOD to GREAT employees out the door, I feel that yes they are cutting anything to make there financials look better and to also make there pockets fatter.... I mean come on what happened to loyalty to your employees? They demand soooo much out of us but when it comes to "feeding the work horses" we get table scraps.... We DO NOT get paid nearly enuff to put up with the mental physical and moral stress we endure on a day to day basis, not only do we suffer but our familys suffer as much if not more!!
    My phone has been ringing off the hook for the better part of a month now, talking to mostly great former USIC employees. There is no more loyalty in that company, and if you think there is you are setting yourself up for a hard fall. And the truly sad part is this: None of this has anything to do with what's in the rumour mill. They are not trying to "balls out" the customers. They are not trying to stay lean and competitive over the seasonal lull. They are looking to get the hell out of this business. NOW.

  8. #23
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    this might be off topic, if you read the small print in the usic open enrollment plan, the one benefit is that they are giving out free vasoline now, but only the generic kind.

    i thought it was funny

  9. #24
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    My phone has been ringing off the hook for the better part of a month now, talking to mostly great former USIC employees. There is no more loyalty in that company, and if you think there is you are setting yourself up for a hard fall. And the truly sad part is this: None of this has anything to do with what's in the rumour mill. They are not trying to "balls out" the customers. They are not trying to stay lean and competitive over the seasonal lull. They are looking to get the hell out of this business. NOW.

    I totally agree. With the new insurance saving them $, the new production quotas, the short cuts, the recent growth (new contracts ) and purchases, we are definitely going to look like a lean, tight run, profit machine to potential buyers in a few short months.

    I wonder if Stayton is being offered a large bonus for selling us like our last CEO received? Of course, this is going to significantly raise the value of his part ownership.
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  10. #25
    Senior Member Dave72's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    Dang, I gotta stop complaining that my (company provided) dental plan doesnt cover implants (so now I have 2 missing molars).

    My worry is shopping for private dental ins once I retire.. got 2 boys who will be in their teens at that point..

    Glad my union fought for and kept decent med/dental/vision/drug/retirement plans for us..

    The Walmarting of society ('we dont care what you pay us or benefits .. we just want the jobs') will eventually drag even the Canadian worker down to some common North American standard I would think..

    Sad...

    @LocatorsWife: we're just north of you across the border.. sad to hear you see a bum deal with unions, dont forget tho.. claiming that all union work is like supporting people sleeping on the job, is similar to someone claiming that all non-union work is like supporting slave labour and crappy conditions where company profit is first. There are examples in-between all over. Our locators are given the time and tools to do a pro job and are compensated appropriately for it (say 60k/yr). I wouldnt consider less to be appropriate considering the value of the assets they protect. (and yes, we do maintain zero hits.. the odd buried house service, thats about it).
    (May you live in interesting times)

  11. #26
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    family plan at USIC is now $180.00 ever two weeks just for medical and a $3000 deductible but were supposed to do more for less like what Mike S. said, thats bull shit!!!!!!! The Locators make this company money but heres the thanks and raise our Insurence rate.

  12. #27
    Member Reece's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    Remember the 3rd video? We need to live healthier lives to keep costs down? Well ass clown how about stop stressing us out! I am sure that does not help. Just let us do our jobs and quit breaking it off in our ass!

  13. #28
    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    These changes at USIC, as well as Utiliquest, offer a fantastic opportunity for competing locate firms.

    It must be taken advantage of while these firms have good locators left. These firms are ripe for harvesting by a recruiter.

    Taking a good locator from a competitor has tremendous financial advantages.
    You save tens of thousands of dollars in training costs. Training costs include low production until a tech builds up speed and accuracy and saving the costs of learning by mistakes, the costs of damages.

    This is a double whammy as you have cost your competitor well over a hundred thousand dollars it costs to replace a good tech. (For those that dispute that figure factor in paying the many trainees who quit, damage out or must be fired before you get a comparable replacement trained and in place)

    Most firms cannot take advantage of this opportunity for two reasons.

    One; They do not recognize the costs associated with producing such a tech on their own. Coupled with this is a budget where hourly rates and sign on bonuses, if there are any, are insufficient and unwilling to make changes.

    Two; Lack of the ability to operate a correct recruiting program. There is no person assigned to recruiting and if there is it is an additional duty for an already over worked individual that cannot be performed properly. In addition the recruitment is passive waiting for a call rather than researching the techs in their competitor's firm, determining who would make a good addition and then contacting them with an offer.

    We are in an industry that is entirely dependent on the quality and work ethic of it's field techs. This is seldom recognized and even then not usually fully understood. In advertising, law, IT and other fields this is fully recognized and raiding your competitor's work force is fully understood and practiced.

  14. #29
    Senior Member Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessionalLocator View Post
    We are in an industry that is entirely dependent on the quality and work ethic of it's field techs. This is seldom recognized and even then not usually fully understood. In advertising, law, IT and other fields this is fully recognized and raiding your competitor's work force is fully understood and practiced.
    First of all, welcome back Pro. It has been busy here, and I assume you have been busy as well. I agree with your statements in principal, but as it applies to USIC let me toss my 2 cents in the hat. They have already lost many of their best people, and I am talking quality wise. Except in a few instances where the tech is firing on all cylinders 24/7 full bore, they are pretty much running with guys who "play the game" well. The guys who do not show up for a good sized chunk of what they charge the customers for, and who have cut corners for so long I doubt they could do the job right if they had to tomorrow. Nicor in IL is so pissed they can't see straight. They routinely blow off all drops, most landscaping and many other "low priority" work. And they are getting fined out the wazoo for it so far this year. If I were a competitor, I'd go for that gas contract right freaking now. Plenty of good techs out of work, and you wouldn't need to hire many of the USIC people at all.

  15. #30
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    Default Re: USIC Insurance Changes

    I would like to associate myself with ProfessionalLocator's remarks. Very, very good insight here. Correct on the good opportunity presenting itself and also correct on the inability for most competing firms to capitalize on it. I am very impressed.
    TRUST no one !!!
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