Working with Our Unions

Photo: Linda Cicero
Approximately two-thirds of PG&E’s employees are covered by collective bargaining agreements with three labor unions: the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1245, the Engineers and Scientists of California (ESC) IFPTE Local 20 and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) United Service Workers West.

These positions include a range of critical areas for our business, both in the field and office, and include employees involved in gas and electric operations, customer services, power generation, environmental and land services, telecommunications and shared services.

Collaboration between the company and its unions is critical to meeting the challenges facing the business and to achieving our goals. Together, we are working to improve service, embrace new technologies and strengthen PG&E’s culture.

Key Activities and Highlights

The company enjoys a healthy working relationship with our labor unions, and we worked together in many important areas last year, such as enhancing technical training programs, fostering health and wellness, expanding our PowerPathway™ program and rolling out numerous initiatives to promote a strong culture of safety.

For each of our three unions, a negotiated labor agreement establishes the working rules and other terms and conditions of employment. The company and the IBEW reached a new four-year clerical agreement that was ratified by IBEW-represented employees in 2010. Three current agreements (benefits, IBEW physical and ESC) expire in 2011.

IBEW Code of Excellence

Last year, the IBEW leadership began meeting with small groups of employees to review the IBEW's Code of Excellence. The Code encourages employees to seek ways to perform work more efficiently and ensure that the work of IBEW members meets the highest standards. Working together, the company and IBEW also hosted sessions with employees on the importance of employee and public safety.

We offer an extensive apprenticeship system for a variety of career paths for our union employees. Our 35 state-certified apprenticeship training programs provide specialized on-the-job and academic training to eligible union-represented employees who want to become certified in a certain trade. Examples of these trades include lineman, electrician and welder. At the end of 2010, there were more than 400 PG&E apprentices. For more information about apprenticeship in California, visit the Department of Industrial Relations.

We also worked closely with the IBEW to launch a new, complementary effort in 2011—the pre-apprentice lineman program. This new initiative illustrates our commitment to preparing our workforce for success and serves as a model for the way we approach training. To develop the program, we formed a joint company and union committee and sought extensive input from employees. We also conducted industry benchmarking, research and site visits with other utilities to identify best practices. Candidates receive formal training and assessments; those who complete the one-year probationary program will become apprentice linemen, the beginning of a 36-month apprenticeship. We expect to hire up to 125 new pre-apprentice linemen in 2011.

More broadly, we continue to assess our future hiring needs among represented employees, considering a number of important factors such as expected retirements and other attrition, as well as changing technology that requires new skill sets. Our future plans include significant hiring in our gas and electric field operations, contact centers and a new meter position responsible for maintenance of SmartMeter™ devices.


Twitter Facebook Next 100 Currents