I hope that all our members and families had an enjoyable holiday season, and that you were able to celebrate with your loved ones. It is a new year, and I think it is safe to say that everyone was eager to turn the page on 2020. However, with the events that have happened at the nation’s Capital, let’s all take a moment to heal and move on, and continue to show that the USA is still the best country in the world, and there is no better place to live. Also, I hope that we find it within ourselves to have mutual respect for each other’s beliefs, and to work together in harmony.
On January 7, 2021, PSE&G was given approval to move forward with their AMI project, which calls for the installation of 2.2 million electric meters. We will be sitting with the company to discuss how we are going to approach this work, which could span over the next 4 plus years.
PSE&G began the first wave of hiring in the last quarter of 2020, and is ramping up with more this month, in hopes that we will be at our Normal Working Force numbers during the first quarter of 2021. This is long overdue, and the real challenge is to keep up with the growing attrition rates as more and more folks are leaving due to retirement.
Later this month, PSEG Nuclear will again be engaged in a second round of the ZEC application process. The hearings with the BPU will be focused on the Staff’s preliminary findings and the ZEC application. The continued support for the subsidy is crucial to the operations of the plants and its effect on our members and other labor affiliations, as well as the economic impact on New Jersey and the supply of electricity to the state.
Lastly, thank you to all for your continued due diligence as it pertains to the protocols put in place to help combat this pandemic over the past 10 or so months. As we turn the page into the new year, we have a vaccine on the horizon, and encourage all of you to register for the Covid19 immunization with the state. We will continue to push to get our workforce moved up on the list of essential workers, as well as for the vaccine itself (Register at covid19.nj.gov)
Stay Safe and Mask Up!
Distribution North, Transmission, FMC Report
Happy New Year to all. We continue to live and work during a Coronavirus pandemic. The end of 2020 and the holiday season was disrupted by weather
challenges. The Company’s unilateral decision to cancel vacations for many was a first, and created a lousy situation. We do not agree with their actions, and the proper steps are moving forward to resolve future problems. As untimely as the weather was, our members did what they normally do—they restored thousands of customers throughout the service territory during the Christmas weekend safely and professionally.
New employees are coming onto the property. Several locations have positions being filled as of this writing, as well as more who will be starting in the near future. The training continues to be discussed. There are some constraints due to Covid-19; the Company has plans to bring on additional instructors, and that will likely create a need for additional adjuncts at the training center. This is a work in progress.
As expected and predicted, the spread of the virus has had a large increase with a combination of the colder months and the holidays. Use the PPE protocols and distancing guidelines to protect yourselves, your co-workers, and your families. If you’re not feeling well, don’t come to work.
I applaud all my Brothers and Sisters in Local 94 for everything you do. It was a difficult 2020, and 2021 is not starting too much better; but there is light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine. As always, watch each other’s backs out there.
Distribution South, Central Report
I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year, with the hope that 2021 gets us back to some sense of normal.
We all know that working for a utility company requires us to work on weekends and holidays. We have all missed a family event, or holiday, or other occasion because we need to work. Responding to storms is something we have to do. That why vacation has always been so important to all of us. You needed to be off, you took vacation to ensure you got the day. That’s why what the company did at Christmas with cancelling vacation made so many of us so angry. It hit us all, not just those of who had their vacation disrupted. We believe what the company did was wrong, and that they did not have a right to do it.
We are moving forward with the grievance process, so it does not happen again. That does not get back the vacation for those who had it cancelled, but it can stop it from happening again.
I sincerely hope that everyone had a chance to relax and re-charge after the extended outage at Salem. We are currently closing out 2 more Ethics and Compliance investigations. Hopefully this will end some of these in the future; they have been too numerous to mention.
We obtained a win in the grievance procedure, getting an individual moved to Tractor Operator. This was done to avoid 2 separate arbitration cases. We are finding that 3 HC Reactor Operators that have retired recently were paid out for unused vacation, but their RO Bonus was not included. We are tracking this issue down, so if anyone is in this situation, please see your Chief Steward or call Moe Hufsey directly at 609-216-4814.
The company is looking for 15-20 volunteers to be SME’s for the slip simulator. Volunteers will have ½ day training, then will assist with approximately 350 folks that need to go through the simulation.
Gas Department Message
We had a significant injury involving a Kubota rollover in mobile construction. The machine operator was in the process of backfilling a curb hole on Bergen Ave
in North Arlington when the Kubota to begin to roll over. The canopy of the Kubota struck the machine operator on the back of his neck, and ultimately ended up landing on his legs. EMS was called, and transported the machine operator to the hospital.
We are still in the process of conducting a root cause investigation. COVID-19 is still a hot topic. Please maintain COVID-19 protocols and follow associated JHA’s.
Line Clearance Message
With the lack of work on our properties at this time, our tree companies are asking their crews if they would be willing to go to other states to work until work picks up here.
Nelson Tree sent crews to NY Local 1249 to work. Asplundh Tree sent crews to PECO Local 126 to work. Davey Tree sent crews to Rhode Island to work.
If you are asked to go, find out how long you will be there, your pay rate, lodging, meals, et al; and keep wearing your masks.
This month, the process is in its beginning stages for the sale of the Fossil generating stations. Goldman Sachs has the portfolios for the respective sites, and will begin actively marketing them. Once we have an idea who the interested parties are, we will have a better idea of the path forward. It should come as no surprise that the locations may start to see interested parties visiting the sites for tours. We have submitted a list of questions from the members to Labor Relations for clarification. We will pass alongmore information as it becomes available.
We had an active member, Terrance Ramos from WRS, pass away from a motorcycle accident. He leaves behind a wife and five children. A Go-Fund Me page has been established to assist them in this trying time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
We have an issue at Linden Cogen with the employer failing to affiliate a temporary employee filling in for a vacancy in the warehouse. We have the issue in the grievance process, and would like to remedy the situation prior to filing for arbitration. Our position is that the CBA is clear on the definition of a temporary worker and the need for them to affiliate with the local union.
Please encourage your fellow Brothers and Sisters to sign up for our webpage, and follow us on Facebook for news and updates.