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Thread: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

  1. #16
    Senior Member Wingfoot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    Quote Originally Posted by superman View Post
    What is AEP? Is it a fiber, electric, catv, gas?




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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    Lol, Only in states that you can locate 365 days a year, and get 40 hrs plus a week. In the snow belt states 4 weeks of vacation is 1/3 of the dig season. Your rate table for holidays and weekend work is a mess. (nightmare keeping track of) Pay raise I agree with sort of. Yes we are underpaid for the responsibility we have but there are some locators that don't do their job and have a lot of damages, but still some how have their jobs. So the few bad eggs ruin it for everyone else. Damages = no raise, no new equipment etc. As far as AEP the guys that located it before Usic got the contract in my area did a good job. Hopefully if they need a job and want to go to Usic that Usic will make them a good offer. Their knowledge of Aep power would be a great addition to our crew.

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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    I don't know where you locate but an 8 hour work day does not work in the prime of dig season. If you want to work an 8 hr day go into the banking business.
    Quote Originally Posted by All American View Post
    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.
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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    Power

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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    Quote Originally Posted by Wingfoot View Post




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    Administrator TheCableVine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    Quote Originally Posted by All American View Post
    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.
    ....
    You don't get it do you? UNIONS ARE BAD FOR BUSINESS. UNIONS DON'T WORK IN CONTRACT LOCATING. UNIONS WILL PUT PEOPLE OUT OF WORK.

    UNIONS ARE DYING. DYING.

    Another thing to note. Unions are a private business. They are a FOR PROFIT business. They are only concerned about themselves. If they were concerned about you, the worker. They'd stay out of the contract locating business.
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    "Change does not always equal progress."

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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCableVine View Post
    You don't get it do you? UNIONS ARE BAD FOR BUSINESS. UNIONS DON'T WORK IN CONTRACT LOCATING. UNIONS WILL PUT PEOPLE OUT OF WORK.

    UNIONS ARE DYING. DYING.

    Another thing to note. Unions are a private business. They are a FOR PROFIT business. They are only concerned about themselves. If they were concerned about you, the worker. They'd stay out of the contract locating business.
    I agree with you Steve but I understand why people keep considering unions as an option. We are in a financial situation that we can't see many options to change except quitting and praying for work we love as much as locating. Unions take advantage of that hope and use it against people. They seem like an option but you are 100% correct. Anyone who joins a union will either pay dues and get very little in return or find themselves within months in the exact situation they hoped to avoid. Out of a job because the contract got underbid. Except now you will be on the poop list of the 811 contractors and will most likely be out of the industry.

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    Quote Originally Posted by daman1 View Post
    I agree with you Steve but I understand why people keep considering unions as an option. We are in a financial situation that we can't see many options to change except quitting and praying for work we love as much as locating. Unions take advantage of that hope and use it against people. They seem like an option but you are 100% correct. Anyone who joins a union will either pay dues and get very little in return or find themselves within months in the exact situation they hoped to avoid. Out of a job because the contract got underbid. Except now you will be on the poop list of the 811 contractors and will most likely be out of the industry.
    I matters not if you and Steve are right or wrong. A union can be a pain in the butt but it is up to the employer if one comes in or not. If the employer is good and treats their employees well a union is not worth the effort. If the employer treats their employees poorly they make it worth the effort.

    It mattesr not that the employer may loose the contract to underbidding. (that as we have all seen often happens anyway) Once the employees feel they have nothing to loose they think may as well pull down the company on their way out the door.

    Unions are determined by the employer.

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    Mke
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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessionalLocator View Post
    I matters not if you and Steve are right or wrong. A union can be a pain in the butt but it is up to the employer if one comes in or not. If the employer is good and treats their employees well a union is not worth the effort. If the employer treats their employees poorly they make it worth the effort.

    It mattesr not that the employer may loose the contract to underbidding. (that as we have all seen often happens anyway) Once the employees feel they have nothing to loose they think may as well pull down the company on their way out the door.

    Unions are determined by the employer.
    I see where you are going with that, and there is some validity to what you are stating, unfortunately it is not as cut and dry as you laid it out.

    How the employer treats their workers is solely interpreted by how the employee's feel they should be treated. The two variables that come into the equation is if the employee is educated upon how their industry works, and how persuasive the Union rep and fellow pro-union employees are.

    The Employer may not have changed anything to directly effect pay or benefits or work load. If the employee's feel that they are mis-treated they will look down upon how and what is provided to them.

    What happens in our industry, is you have people comparing our compensation to the compensation to "skilled" workers. If you compare the two, we get the shaft. It doesn't take much comparison when entry level utility workers get 25+ an hour and our entry level is 12.

    If we actually had standards that we had to follow and be educated on, we should easily be able to bump that starting wage up to 18+. Unfortunately, standards and utilities don't necissarily go hand in hand.

    mke

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    Senior Member ProfessionalLocator's Avatar
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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    We have a government contract that requires a 'living wage'. They determined, correctly, that utility locators are skilled workers and set the hourly rate based on being a skilled worker.
    I cannot release the pay scale but it is very good. Plus it is a 9 hour work day so those techs get 5 hours ot a week minimum. So their base pay is 47 & 1/2 man hours a week.
    Their base pay is greater than my weekly supervisor wage. Plus they get more ot from being oncall.


    The locate firms know we are skilled workers. They cannot pull a pickup truck in front of a 7/11 and load up a crew to mark tickets. It takes classroom training plus weeks of riding with a mentor in the field before a newbie hits the street. Even then it is a year before they become both accurate and productive enough to be worth their pay. Any employee that takes several years to develop into a reliable worker is a skilled worker.

    When people say locators are not skilled worker they are either ignorant or liars. This of corse excludes those here just repeating that is unjustly said about us.




    Quote Originally Posted by Mke View Post
    I see where you are going with that, and there is some validity to what you are stating, unfortunately it is not as cut and dry as you laid it out.

    How the employer treats their workers is solely interpreted by how the employee's feel they should be treated. The two variables that come into the equation is if the employee is educated upon how their industry works, and how persuasive the Union rep and fellow pro-union employees are.

    The Employer may not have changed anything to directly effect pay or benefits or work load. If the employee's feel that they are mis-treated they will look down upon how and what is provided to them.

    What happens in our industry, is you have people comparing our compensation to the compensation to "skilled" workers. If you compare the two, we get the shaft. It doesn't take much comparison when entry level utility workers get 25+ an hour and our entry level is 12.

    If we actually had standards that we had to follow and be educated on, we should easily be able to bump that starting wage up to 18+. Unfortunately, standards and utilities don't necissarily go hand in hand.

    mke
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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    Here is the rub the way I see it. If we got the pay and bennies that the utilities give they'y people they would take it back in house and cut out all the overhead of contract locate companies. Do I think we should get better pay and bennies hell yea but there is a limit. IMO we should get better pay for callout and better hourly pay but union is not the answer.Federal standards for locators would go a long way to curing what ails this industry.

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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    Quote Originally Posted by orangeboots View Post
    Here is the rub the way I see it. If we got the pay and bennies that the utilities give they'y people they would take it back in house and cut out all the overhead of contract locate companies. Do I think we should get better pay and bennies hell yea but there is a limit. IMO we should get better pay for callout and better hourly pay but union is not the answer.Federal standards for locators would go a long way to curing what ails this industry.
    Federal standards and even influence on pay is not foreseeable. But the locators can join a union and get it active in a few months time. That makes unions accessible to locators so they really do not have another choice.

    For the client companies going back in-house is a huge and often prohibitive expense. They have used contract locating so long they no longer have the experienced staff needed. Plus buy vehicles, locate equipment, etc. is an expense they cannot pass on to their customers unless the local regulatory authority permits them.

    I worked at an electric utility and saw their change to contract locators. Mostly they are now dependent on contract locating firms. The price to pay a contract firm would have to be significantly higher than in-house for them to make the change.

  13. #28
    Mke
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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    Quote Originally Posted by ProfessionalLocator View Post
    We have a government contract that requires a 'living wage'. They determined, correctly, that utility locators are skilled workers and set the hourly rate based on being a skilled worker.
    I cannot release the pay scale but it is very good. Plus it is a 9 hour work day so those techs get 5 hours ot a week minimum. So their base pay is 47 & 1/2 man hours a week.
    Their base pay is greater than my weekly supervisor wage. Plus they get more ot from being oncall.


    The locate firms know we are skilled workers. They cannot pull a pickup truck in front of a 7/11 and load up a crew to mark tickets. It takes classroom training plus weeks of riding with a mentor in the field before a newbie hits the street. Even then it is a year before they become both accurate and productive enough to be worth their pay. Any employee that takes several years to develop into a reliable worker is a skilled worker.

    When people say locators are not skilled worker they are either ignorant or liars. This of corse excludes those here just repeating that is unjustly said about us.
    So, you are stating your situation is if that is the standard for the industry. It's not. It's the exception. Personal opinion aside, do you actually think the majority of locating companies out their consider the utility locator as a "Skilled" position? The last 5 public contract locators I have met out in the field have a combined experience of..... Wait for it..... 3.5 years. All of them were on their own. Do you want to know what these guys did before becoming a locator?

    1) Gas station attendant (Oregon doesn't allow people to pump their own gas)
    2) Busboy
    3) Camera Shop sales men
    4) Movie theater clerk
    5) Student

    You state you can't pick up just anyone to fill a locating position? No offense to these guys and girl but you don't have to be a rocket surgeon in order to paint the ground.

    All these companies want is someone who they don't have to pay a lot for to get a certian level of performance.

    You state you can't divulge any figures for what your guys are making, can you divulge other information. How many Utilities do you guys locate? Do you guys Locate specifically for an entity interest? (meaning; do you locate more like a private locating firm who has a singular contract with a government agency, or do you locate a public utlity, more like a contract locating company?) The diference being, the contract is handled two different ways. One way opens up to more money for the locator, and the other is just like every other contract locating company out there.

    I'm venturing a rough guess that the wage you won't divulge would be probably around the $24 range. That is what utility companies will pay non-skilled workers due to it being the lowest rung on the scale from the colective bargining agreement that the local union has in place. Companies typically, don't want this wage to get out because it usually pisses off union guys that non-union workers are getting similar pay for "un-skilled" work.

    This was the same set-up I had when I read meters for a few months. As for locating, this is blatently an "exception" to the rule. Good on your workers finding themselves in that position. With this situation, you have to also recognize, due to the increased pay, you have actually a lower turnover rate compared to the rest of the industry. The pay will keep locators trying harder, because they know the pay elsewhere is crap.

    As for your sensitivity to the term "Un-skilled"..... You realize that by all definitions, we are? I'm not insulting locators, for Pete's sake I am one. However, you need to recognize that there is no standards in the industry. How can there be when one company will allow induction and another won't? Or one company will allow access to their vaults and another won't?

    If you think i'm ignorant due to this.... I've been called worse.... I am a locator after all.

    mke
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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    Pro are the locators working the goverment contract only getting Davis-Bacon while they locate that contract? So they have 2 separete pay scales

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    Default Re: Whats next for UTILITY LOCATORS

    Quote Originally Posted by orangeboots View Post
    Pro are the locators working the goverment contract only getting Davis-Bacon while they locate that contract? So they have 2 separete pay scales
    Those locators work exclusively on the government contract Monday through Friday.

    If they come over into the next state, they are our only contract in that state, and work evenings or weekends we pay them their government scale.

    There are a few things this company does that others do not. When oncall all locators they are paid time and a half regardless of if they worked 40 hours that week. So a week when there are two days off due to holidays they are paid the 24 hours for the three work days, their full days pay for each holiday day (not some $50 pittance) . So they only worked 24 hours and need 16 hours more to make 40 but they still get time and a half for oncall as if they had worked 40 hours.

    I have complaints, we all do, but there are some things they do right by the techs.
    Last edited by ProfessionalLocator; January 6th, 2015 at 09:00 PM.

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