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Los Angeles DWP workers to get pay raise

Even as police officers go without raises in each of the next two years, the Los Angeles City Council moved ahead with a plan today to give employees of the Department of Water and Power raises ranging from 2% to 4% in each of the next five years.

Three hours after it approved a two-year contract with the Police Protective League that offers zero pay increases, the council forwarded a package of five raises to International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18.

Asked to explain the deal, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana, the top budget official, said: “I’m not talking about the IBEW” – a reference to the DWP’s union.

But Brian D’Arcy, business manager for the electrical workers’ union, said the agreement would give his members a 3.25% raise this year and raises of 2% to 4% in each the following four years, depending on inflation.

The plan reflects the clout wielded by D’Arcy, who repeatedly voiced his displeasure with the DWP former general manger, H. David Nahai, in the months before his departure. D’Arcy said his members gave up a key concession that will, over time, save the utility hundreds of millions of dollars. The union was already in line for a 3.25% raise this year but agreed to take the money in a way that will not apply to the utility’s pension system, he said.

The council gave the go-ahead to the DWP contract hours after it approved a separate agreement that hands a 4.4% pay cut to the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, which represents 22,000 civilian employees, over the next eight months.

D’Arcy said the DWP, which helps subsidize the city’s overall budget, is not in the same “economic strife” as the rest of the city. He also argued that the city, when bargaining with other civilian unions, has fallen prey to “boom and bust negotiations."

“They’ve been having a Mardi Gras over there the past three years,” D'Arcy said.

Paul Weber, president of the Police Protective League, said he did not know the specifics of the DWP pay proposal but said police officers cannot negotiate the same way as utility workers.

“Unlike us, they have the ability to strike,” Weber said. “Number two, when they go to management, management has the option of increasing the utility bills. We don’t have that ability.”

-- David Zahniser

Comments () | Archives (48)

dwp is a racket that has us all by the short hairs. to hck with them and their raises. why is trash collection $75/month -- every month of the year -- for a family of 1, but only $16 in Monrovia? Might I add that it takes about...20 seconds to empty my cans into a truck?

How can any pay rises be justified in this climate? Pay rises that are funded from taxpayers money.
I am totally mystified here....
And honestly..I don't know the details I'm just curious.

Why have we been having so many rate increases?

I think the city approves all those rate hikes so that at the end of the year the City Council can clean out the DWP's bank account. Seems like a clever way to get around Proposition 13?

Personally I'm outraged that the cops get no raise and these union members get another raise.

Where do I sign up for a guaranteed life time job and pension where the employer simply raise utility rates?

Now I know why my DWP bill keeps going up. Wonderful city council we have.

Of course the DWP doesn't have the same economic strife as the City. This is because they use the tax payers as an ATM machine.

I did not get a raise this year. Many others did not. How is our broke city paying DWP employees raises?

Are they kidding me???? DWP is a joke. I can't believe they are getting a pay raises during these economic times. My last bill was the highest I have ever had, and now I know why. Obviously, increasing their rates is paying for the undeserved pay raises. I wish I could switch power companies, but we are all forced into the companies that service the area. Shame on you DWP.

Unbelievable. Our elected politicians are lackeys of these unions. They just don't care about the economic conditions of the rest of us.

Hide the money y'all, there's poor people around.

It is inconcievable that most of the City's workforce is forced to take cuts and make sacrifices while another group thinks that the worst economic times since the Great Depression do not apply to them. If the council has the temerity to approve and adopt this contract, I hope the the residents of LA and the ratepayers of the DWP stand up and revolt. It is time that we stop letting the highest paid utility workers in America continue to hold this City hostage. Sell the DWP to the highest bidder and let D'Arcy try to negotiate with shareholders instead of taxpayers. At least the City could start to recoup its losses.

I can not believe - even in this corrupt city - what I just read. DWP workers getting raises when the rest of the private sector is losing their buts - this city council should be all fired - if the dwp union does not take at least a 15% pay cut and at 15% benefit cut - they should also all be fired, and we can hire other people in a flash - spare me the BS we will be with out some services for a few days or weeks- good!! it is about time people learned to do a few things for themselves around her anyway!!
Thoroughly disgusted!!!
Richard Raddatz of Northridge California - and ashamed of it!!!!!!!!!

Un-blanking-believable: our rates are sky-high, our friends and neighbors are losing their jobs, our streets swallow fire-trucks and look more like Venice, Italy, daily, and yet we rate-payers are funding a PAY HIKE for DWP employees.

Just shoot me already.


It's so comforting to know that the DWP and City Council is doing it's share to ease the burden of this city!

Wake up Los Angeles, 1.5 million buys a lot of influence!
Councilman Smith once said openly in City Council meeting last year. Why is the City Council so afraid of DWP, IBEW?
And this story comes out on day 22,000 Coalition union members picked up the check of this over spending City Council.

From Presious Posting:
As reported by: L.A. Watchdog
By Jack Humphreville
IBEW Local 18 investments 1.5 Million dollars to date to the Mayors political machine.
It does not pay, not go along with this Mayoral administrations Political machine.
When the IBEW Union GM is not talking to you and the Mayor chills to you, then it means wake up and smell whats cooking it is you. Get out of Dodge. Bratton and now Mr. H. David Nahai nows knows this.
Best investment IBEW made, is it not?
The goals of this Administration, is not in the best interest of the Taxpaying public. What this city can afford and what this administration wants to spend to be considered part of the Environmentally Green Elitists in not in the best interests of the taxpayers of this City. This City is starting to lose the best of the best and will only get candidates that will agree with this administrations agenda and that is taking care of its campaign contributors.

Posted by: Julian B Duron | October 03, 2009 at 09:30 AM

Are you kidding me? Is this a joke? Am I hallucinating? No one is getting increases. This can't be true. If there are any DWP employees reading this blog, read this, you disgust me. Your union disgusts me. Whoever approved this disgusts me.

The timing of this deal is incredulous! I put the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the City Council, who in May 2009, with pompous fanfare, declared a "fiscal emergency". It was because of this declaration that the City Council and the mayor threatened the civilian unions with massive layoffs and furloughs. Did they suddenly, clandestinely, and in the middle of the night, cancel this "fiscal emergency"?

The DWP does not collect trash. Ratepayers pay DWP employees, not the taxpayers. The DWP, especially power generation, is a cash cow for the city. Electricity is sold on the open market, bringing in money from outside L.A. to subsidize the city budget. Selling cash generating assets while in a depressed economy would be foolish and accomplish nothing beyond sticking it to the IBEW. Rates would likely go up as buyers recoup their investment. Edison already charges more than the DWP.

To the blogger who thinks the City can easily replace myself. I was at the top of a pole surrounded by large apartments in the property line South of Darlington between Bundy and Barrington during the wind we had Tuesday night. There is no "vehicle access" on a "property line" and us lineman have to climb the pole the old fashioned way here in LA. You don't get to just replace these "overpaid dwp" guys with the hydraulic bucket truck ideas that must be in your head. The transformer I was replacing weighed 1487 lbs. and was dangling from rope and block and tackle when the power pole itself began to fall over. With me and my apprentice at the top of it. One fiddle string tight service drop to the back of an apartment house with a Mayfield Avenue address prevented the pole from going all the way over crashing personnel, high tension wires, and steel tanks full of buzzing oil surrounded high energy. I actually flipped a coin to be the one up there in the jaws of death and firey destruction. I've served the City of LA now for over five years in this capacity and it's been my experience, though we have a standing call in place the whole time I've been here offering to hire more of me but the puny trickle of a few men this year and a few more new faces the next year is but a drop in the bucket to the standing call for one hundred lineman. DWP needs you. Can you hang out with me? Put your hooks on. Up the pole or be quiet folks. The pay really is top for our industry. It appears the City isn't paying enough yet, however, to bring the help we need. Still need a hundred ... be nice to get some help out here. They're making me work overtime and I am not in need of the cash. I do it out of a sense of duty. Should have heard the complaining folks that were out of power that night. I have a concience. I didn't climb the pole for my health. People were in need and there are NOT a great many folks eager to fill my shoes.

Sincerely yours,
in Civil Service
a DWP lineman

It's just goes to show how inept the Police Union is...

Insiders know Brian D'Arcy owns City Hall and basically has veto power over DWP General Managers. D'Arcy gets whatever he wants but of course takes no responsibility.
David Freeman was the worst GM in supporting IBEW over good management. As a result, what was an outstanding organization with an engineering orientation and sound long range planning is now a politically oriented mess.

first of all the dwp doesnt get paid by your taxes, also if you want to switch companies and go to edison your bill will double. and if you just think you can go hire any one off the streets to work on high voltage power lines good luck. the dwp pays into the citys general fund over a hundred fifty million dollars every year. they do not pull any money from the city to pay for these raises.

What Curt said. Just ignorance is all. "Taxpayers" sheesh! If our wages depended on taxes there wouldn't be very many lights on in LA!

It's true, the DWP is a cash cow, always has been, as all other "departments" are run off taxes and are run as pure overhead!

I think the City should send everyone a bill for the Fire and Police too, that way they have an electric meter and a rate payer and do away with tax based things that are so complicated as to be manipulated by politicians!

As for the 'jaws of death" comment if this is true you should be written up for putting yourself and your fellow employees in that type of danger of death, injury and the DWP and the city in danger of legal action. CAL OSHA will be looking into your claim and I'm sure management at DWP will also be looking into this type of reckless behavior.

From the LA Times story, "DWP workers get pay hikes, but not police," this quote was quite interesting:

Matt Szabo, deputy chief of staff for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, praised the DWP agreement, saying it "provides the shared sacrifice that the mayor has asked for."

Excuse me, but what exactly is this "shared sacrifice?" That they didn't get a BIGGER raise?

The fact that they got the raise, no matter what the rationalizations are is bad enough, but it is plain insulting for the Mayor to be saying they sacrificed when others in Los Angeles are getting laid off, furloughed, or having their pay cut.

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