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Thread: union utilities vs union contractors

  1. #1

    Default union utilities vs union contractors

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    I have worked for a power company and i am now a contractor. The question i have is why does it seem like we are seperated from each other. i notice that there is some type division between union utility workers and union contractors and i can not find a valid reason why this is. I really think that even though we are from different locals we are still all IBEW and if we as contractors stood by utility workers during there contract negotiations and vise versa that it would benifit all of us. I think that if the power company is union then it should be in there contract that only union contractors should be on the property unless its a state of emergency similar to centerpoints contract in houston. also i think that all the locals(contractor and powercompany) should meet once a quarter to handle all issues that effect that area as a whole. for example florida local 222, progress,fpl,teco locals, etc. the saying is united we stand divided we fall. well right now its a free fall. I know we have different contracts and thats fine we shouldn't step into eachothers contracts but we should stand by eachothers contracts in larger numbers. I really believe that this would change the way the game is played. I'm sure this idea will stir the pot but i would like to hear what everyones input is.

  2. #2
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    i went the other way ,ibew contract lineman to ibew utility lineman. what you will notice is that both make me what i am first which is an IBEW LINEMAN. what i see to be the problem, and it definately is a problem , is an us against them mindset. contractors see utility lineman as being lazy and somewhat narrow-minded which i find to be true. especially with guys who did their training at the utility, only know one way of doing things "the way we always done it". utility guys always feel that contractors are "taking our work" which i don't see to be true. utilities will always have contractors working for them because it is economical to do so. contractors don't take utility workers work, the companies hand out the work. always been that way, always will be. the only solution i see is for all IBEW LINEMAN to accept thier role in the trade, utility guys doing service work and trouble shooting and contractors doing construction and respecting each other as skilled laborers in a dangerous trade. pull together to get what we all really want, higher pay, safer working conditions and a better way of life.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by knotskeart View Post
    i went the other way ,ibew contract lineman to ibew utility lineman. what you will notice is that both make me what i am first which is an IBEW LINEMAN. what i see to be the problem, and it definately is a problem , is an us against them mindset. contractors see utility lineman as being lazy and somewhat narrow-minded which i find to be true. especially with guys who did their training at the utility, only know one way of doing things "the way we always done it". utility guys always feel that contractors are "taking our work" which i don't see to be true. utilities will always have contractors working for them because it is economical to do so. contractors don't take utility workers work, the companies hand out the work. always been that way, always will be. the only solution i see is for all IBEW LINEMAN to accept thier role in the trade, utility guys doing service work and trouble shooting and contractors doing construction and respecting each other as skilled laborers in a dangerous trade. pull together to get what we all really want, higher pay, safer working conditions and a better way of life.

    You are right it has always been pretty much the utility lineman against the outside linemen. I could never understand why that is, especially that some utility lineman are more opposed to having union contractors on their property than they are to having nonunion linemen, who are the real threat to their jobs.

    I have seen utility lineman who served their apprenticeship on the outside and then left to go to work for a utility only to turn against the outside linemen. Probably they never would have got the job with the utility company if it would not have been for the Outside IBEW apprenticeship that gave him an opportunity to open a door to get a job with the Utility.

    The total package for an outside linemen and a utility lineman is usually pretty close. The cost of the contractor on the property also includes the contractor's profit. The advantage to the utility company to have a contractor on the property is that they are usually more productive, but the main selling point is that the contractor is temporary. Utility linemen can pretty much count on having a permanent position for their entire working career. The utility company understands that they will be responsible for their Linemen's health-care, pensions etc. for their entire working life.

    Every job that an outside linemen has is temporary. Every outside linemen knows that he will probably not work for that contractor his entire career, he will not work on that utility company's property his entire career and he probably will not even work in the same state his entire career. Utilities know that the cost of a contractor on their property is a cost that they can shed when necessary for budgetary purposes. The utility companies also have more flexibility in moving contractors throughout their geographical area.

    The utility locals in the IBEW hold "Utility Caucasus" three or four times a year, often attended by the officers of Outside Locals for an exchange of information, etc.. Regardless of what understandings or agreements that the Outside and Utility Locals come to, it all comes down to the Utility company and how they conduct their business.

  4. #4
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    I went from outside IBEW to Utility UWUA and not only do I see the us(utility) verses them (contractor) but also the us (UWUA) verses them (IBEW)! I love the IBEW and always will but I am also PROUD to belong to the UWUA! Any Union out there whether it's IBEW, UWUA, or UAW had founding members who fought and died to bring future generations a better life! Knowing that's what I belong to is what gives me my pride!

    Yea I had the "IBEW or contractor mentality" when I first came here but after experiencing both sides I can see how we ALL have our fair share of problems and we ALL need to stick together to REGAIN AND KEEP what so many had fought to first bring to this and ALL trades!!!

    Cooperations thrive when there is division in the Unions and it's time to set feelings aside and WORK TOGETHER to bring "cooperate greed" to an end and return the ability to live the "American Dream" to the everyday laborer!

    It's sickening to see how easy GREED can bond the cooperations and politicians ALL together to squash the FREE workin man and the idea of a better life for all of us ISN'T ENOUGH TO KEEP US TOGETHER TO FIGHT BACK?

    Ask yourselves this....Is it easier to first fight to get something or to fight to keep it? Is what you have now worth loosin later in your life or WORTH FIGHTIN NOW TO KEEP ALWAYS? Our livelihoods are ALWAYS worth fightin for NOT WORTH GIVIN IN BECAUSE OF!!

    We actually have the easier task of keepin what others gave their lives for! THE TIME IS ALWAYS NOW NOT LATER!!

    NOW IS THE TIME TO UNITE; UTILITY HANDS, CONTRACTORS, AUTO WORKERS, UNIONS, NONUNION HANDS, ETC. TO RETURN FREEDOM TO AMERICA!!

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    Have a question why is it that utility guys hate contractors so much, they say it's because we take there work but if I could go out to a job and look at it and say nope don't want to do this today and someone else would come do it I would love them guys it's all a big joke.me personally don't like the fact that someone that is a complete pile of **** can be my boss someday no thanks I like packing my stuff and going to the hall if I get tired of something or someone that's why I work outside but I'm sure I'll try it again someday the wife keeps trying to push me that way...
    Last edited by west coast hand; 02-13-2010 at 11:18 AM.
    IF YOU AIN'T IN YOUR TOOLS DON'T CHANGE THE RULES...BOYCOTT THE BUCKSQEEZE

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    Quote Originally Posted by west coast hand View Post
    Have a question why is it that utility guys hate contractors so much, they say it's because we take there work but if I could go out to a job and look at it and say nope don't want to do this today and someone else would come do it I would love them guys it's all a big joke.me personally don't like the fact that someone that is a complete pile of **** can be my boss someday no thanks I like packing my stuff and going to the hall if I get tired of something or someone that's why I work outside but I'm sure I'll try it again someday the wife keeps trying to push me that way...
    West Coast Hand I couldnt agree more but I am a utility lineman. We do have the contractor issue in the utility I work for but let me tell you this... There are some utility lineman that support you guys with vigor. Not because you are doing some of the jobs they dont want to do but because you are union brothers.. As a leader in my local do I wish it were different? Yes I do. However union contractors are more than welcome on our property so long as our membership numbers don't suffer because of it. We work hard to keep our numbers up and are more than willing to accept a helping hand when the work load gets too great. So the next time a utility lineman walks up to you and shakes your hand it is nothing more than two lineman on different roads but part of the same great brotherhood saying hello!!!

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    Thumbs down Some utility hands

    Quote Originally Posted by watzamta View Post
    West Coast Hand I couldnt agree more but I am a utility lineman. We do have the contractor issue in the utility I work for but let me tell you this... There are some utility lineman that support you guys with vigor. Not because you are doing some of the jobs they dont want to do but because you are union brothers.. As a leader in my local do I wish it were different? Yes I do. However union contractors are more than welcome on our property so long as our membership numbers don't suffer because of it. We work hard to keep our numbers up and are more than willing to accept a helping hand when the work load gets too great. So the next time a utility lineman walks up to you and shakes your hand it is nothing more than two lineman on different roads but part of the same great brotherhood saying hello!!!
    Around here the only utility hands that will even talk to us is ex outside hands. Like you said we are all union brothers that are on to different roads but I think most of them are homegrown
    utility hands and they are thought to hate contractors and doing even know why they just hate us because they are told to, but when you hire on at the utility they want to be your best friend What a joke. like I say it could be worst they could have pike or irby there let's see how they like that???
    Last edited by west coast hand; 02-13-2010 at 02:16 PM.
    IF YOU AIN'T IN YOUR TOOLS DON'T CHANGE THE RULES...BOYCOTT THE BUCKSQEEZE

  8. #8
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    Being a construction hand I've had the same experience with PG&E in Northern Cal. The utility hands (99%) treated us like we were a bunch of convicts!?

    It makes no sense why ANY of us have that mentality like it's 'us vs. them'.

    We all have a job to do. We all have a family to provide for and support.

    Granted I've worked for some contractors that employed some clowns that did nothing but embarass the local, the contractor, and the rest of the 'good hands'. But still..., we're all supposed to do the right thing and support one another. That's what WE agreed to when we took the oath to become an IBEW member.

    But I will say the SDG&E and SCE hands have all been great to be around and very helpful!

  9. #9
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    And not to drag this whole thing out....but it goes for the same as travelers, tramps, book II hands, etc.,

    Classic example. Work has slowed down a ton here in California. And what kills me is that right now some local hands here in SoCal despise the tramps. They've complained that we're taking thier jobs and that we (tramps) should'nt be here. But the way I see it. The contractor has every right to employee who ever he deems fit best for the job.

    I just think it really drags down the brotherhood when grown men are scrutinizing a tramp for having a job. And what they fail to see is that the founder of the IBEW was a tramp!

    It should'nt matter if you're a utility hand, contractor, local hand or tramp. When we all took the oath to uphold the IBEW to the highest standards, we were taking an OATH to support unity and solidarity!

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    At one time I was a utility hand and while I held little or no respect for Pike or Red Simpson people I was tickled pink when a union contractor got a job, even a small one. I never missed an opportunity to praise their work and certainly never thought less of them .Unfortunately the utility I worked for rarely hired union contractors.Now I are one and I like it just as well if not better. I bleve most,.... if not all of the utility hands I worked with felt the same way.

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