Working With Our Unions

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 employees support a range of areas that are critical for our business, including gas and electric operations, customer services, power generation, environmental and land services, telecommunications and shared services.

We continue to work with our labor unions to meet the challenges facing our business in our shared effort to improve service, deploy new technologies and strengthen PG&E’s safety culture.

Key Activities and Highlights

PG&E and the unions continue to work together in many important areas, such as enhancing technical training programs, fostering health and wellness, building career pathways and implementing numerous initiatives to promote a stronger culture of safety.

For each of our three unions, a negotiated labor agreement establishes the working rules and other terms and conditions of employment. During the past year, PG&E and IBEW have collaborated on developing a new medical plan for active employees that emphasizes preventive care and incents annual health screenings and smoking cessation. IBEW-, ESC- and SEIU-represented employees recently ratified table agreements on new contracts that include the new medical plan and replace the pension plan with a cash balance plan for newly hired employees.

In addition, union-represented employees continue to actively participate in employee-driven efforts to foster a safety-first environment, with the goal of reducing and eliminating injuries and promoting safe practices at all times. For example, “Control the Pressure” is a peer-to-peer campaign spearheaded by the IBEW Local 1245 to promote gas safety among employees. “Control the Pressure” and our other employee-driven safety efforts are increasingly engaging our workforce and encouraging a safety culture where employees look out for one another.

Workforce Development and Training

We offer an apprenticeship system for a variety of career paths for our union-represented 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 2011, there were more than 450 PG&E apprentices. For more information about apprenticeships in California, visit the Department of Industrial Relations—Division of Apprentice Standards.

We also worked closely with the IBEW to launch a new, complementary effort in 2011—the pre-apprentice line worker program—in which candidates receive formal training and assessments. Those who complete the one-year program will become apprentice linemen, the beginning of a 48 month apprenticeship. We expect to hire up to 60 new pre-apprentice linemen in 2012.

More broadly, we continue to assess our future hiring needs among union-represented employees, considering a number of important factors such as expected retirements and other attrition, as well as changing technologies that require 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. Due to expected retirements, Pacific Gas and Electric Company and IBEW have established targets for filling hundreds of key apprentice positions between 2012 and 2014.