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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)

Reckless behavior, the poster who made the comment about "jaws of death", he should be written up for violating a bunch of safety rules.

When the fire department is called to a stabbing for medical aid, they "stage" which is they wait some safe distance form where the person is until the police have cleared the area of danger. To say that dwp would risk the lives of it's employees to get the power back on is irresponsible.

CAL OSHA will be looking into your claims and I'm sure your supervisor and union steward will also be looking into this dangerous behavior.

Put your hooks and belt on Hal we have work to do. Up there in the jaws of death. The lines are old, overloaded,
sometimes RICKETY old ready to fall down old, and makeshift repairs abound, and things that make you wonder about liability and hazard to the public abound. You'd be shocked, no... bad word, we're trained to avoid... you'd be apalled at what we have to deal with in these tree infested billy goat steep locations they reserve for the lines here in Los Angeles. Every place else except Detroit and Philadelphia and other old, old, installations, there is an easement and the right for a worker to get his vehicle to the work site. Not here pal. "Jaws of death" is a simple and accurate description, and there isn't anything OSHA or GOD or Muhammed can do about it. It's wicked at times and yeah I speak from the gut. Cuz it's true.


Patty the praise shown in certain text toward D'Arcy isn't annointed frivolously. He opened our contract where we've already secured a 3.25% raise for this year in which the cost of living actually went down a few points! That's a concession of my wages affected over all the years I intend to put myself into the "jaws of death" for. It still has to be ratified by the membership and I'm voting NO as I hope does everyone else and we'll KEEP our 3.25% AND make D'Arcy go negotiate with a broke City next year and earn his money at the table, like I do at the top of a pole in the "jaws of death"!

"jaws of death" Your right you should be making $100K, but not to as a lineman, you should be a fiction writer, your very good at it.

Oh and be careful with that cape you might get it caught in the lines.

are you all redy to pay 10% more in rates to ladwp ,thats what they have in mind this crooks for us to pay per year in rates increces
brian d'arcy the union boss of ibew union have evry politician in city hall on his payroll and if he does not get his way he will brake there arm per say he does not take any b.s. from any one hes just like a mob just like the sopanos or gang member , and we all now city hall politicians are wimps no back bone
we need to push back e mail evry one in city hall or give them phone call or give them a visit in city hall
this is not goin alway this crooks in there mind belive we in los angeles rate payers are not goin to do any thing about it lets probe the wrong lets give them hell just like they are doing it to us god help los angeles

AUDIT AUDIT AUDIT AUDIT THE DWP. EVERYONE NEEDS TO START ASKING THAT THE DWP BE AUDITED. I want to know how the exact number of MILLIONS of our dollars is getting tranferred into the general fund. I want to know how much the IBEW has given to every single city council member's campaign like when Wendy Greuel ran for city controller and they gave her $200,000 of OUR MONEY. This is outright CORRUPTION in the highest form. LA Times since you're losing circulation and readers do an investigative report on DWP and trust me you will get tons of people back

The DWP does not collect trash. The Bureau of Sanitation does. Entirely different organizations and unions. Note that your bill says "City of LA Municipal Services" (combined agency charges all on one neat big bill). Costs less to combine - is more efficient.

Here's the real issue. The Power Generation side of DWP creates and sells excess electricity to other cities, and makes millions of dollars, which they hand over to the City of LA. Those millions are used by the City to fund a variety of services. Unlike Edison, a private enterprise that creates wealth for itself, DWP creates wealth for LA. The DWP operates independent of the City of LA, and many believe this is the reason for their success.

Now, LA citizens could ask "if they create so much wealth, that they supply the City with millions consistently, then why can't they reduce, or eliminate my electricity charges?" Answer: the City regulates those fees and depends on the income to provide other critical services.

Is it fair that a Civil Servant who works for a LA City agency that strictly provides a service (does not generate income) is paid less, and treated less (lay-offs, hard time pay cuts, salary, pension, benefit cuts) than a DWP employee? Of course not. It isn't fair at all. Police, Firefighters, and every other City Service has employees that are just as good and dedicated as DWP's. However, changing this means interfering with DWP's independent operations, something that's never been done, and no one wants to tell the Golden Goose how to better lay eggs. She's pumping them out better than was ever expected. The consensus has always been "leave them alone, they're doing a hell of a job". It's all about the money. They not only pay for themselves, but they pay for a whole lot more. So, no one ever questions them paying their employees more, or approving employee raises when the rest of the City government is cutting back.

I work for DWP and have an example of "jaws of death"... a couple of Linemen working on a high voltage circuit, restoring it back to its "normal" configuration. A small, but vital, piece of equipment fails and a piece of wire, energized at 4,800 volts, swings down over a parked car and dangles about 12' above the sidewalk. Thanks to experience and quick actions the situation was made safe in a matter of seconds. Does this sound like a work environment you'd like to experience?
The 3.25% wage increase was part of an agreement(contract) made four years ago. DWP's union, Ibew local #18, is offering to help out by us not taking the full amount. The last time I checked our wages are paid by customers using electricity, not taxes. DWP generates revenue and gives a portion to the City of Los Angeles.
When was the last rate increase? How about the one before that? The latest increases started January 1, 2008 and the increases before that were in 1992. How much have Edison's gone up? If I remember correctly it was 18% last year. If your bill is going up it's probably because you've used more electrity, just a guess.
I worked other places before getting hired with DWP and those jobs make me really appreciate my employer. It took me 4 years to get in here and it was worth it. For those that bad-mouth this place, instead of trashing it, get a job here and enjoy it too.

Why does this surprise anyone. In Maywood, no raises were given due to the bad economy. Instead the chief of police created four positions for his cronies at $10,000 a month. And of course no prior experience or education required. So much for a bad economy.

This article is misleading. It is not a raise. It is only a bonus for this year only.

First of all, everyone needs to read this article with a bit more consideration. The DWP union had negotiated an agreement with the city for a COLA increase in the range of 3.25%-6% for a 5 year period. The final date of this contract is 2010 so the union, instead of taking the 3.25% this year, decided to cut that to 2% and not add that onto the base rate pay of each employee. Bottom line, this deal saves the city $300 + million and prevents jobs from being lost. Nobody wants to lay off employees especially in the municipal sector. As for DWP electric rates...they are the lowest in California when you compare to EDISON, PG& E and SDGE. LADWP rates are around ($0.1236/kwH) when compared to Edison which is $0.16 to $0.28. So before the people in LA complain about their electric rates....check the facts. As for the trash pick up, that’s not LADWP's charge...that needs to be addressed to the LA bureau of sanitation. LA is running out of space to place our waste so it's an effort that everyone in the city needs to take responsibility for. We are currently shipping our waste to other city's and states because were unable to support it. And as for reliability, LADWP always get the highest Federal and national ratings for reliability and power quality....that is another thing people don’t realize and take for granted. So please don't jump to conclusions regarding this matter. We all need electricity and water. It sustains life and growth...something we all take for granted.

The problem here is not necessarily one of whether DWP workers deserve the money. DWP rates are the lowest of all the major suppliers in California, and no one can refute that. The problem here is perception. In a time when unemployment is hitting 10% nationwide, and well over 12% in California, DWP workers are receiving hefty wage increases at a time when many citizens of the City and the State are losng their own jobs. Because the DWP is a public utility - not a private one - the citizens of Los Angeles expect the Department to act in a manner that is responsible and sensitive to the community at large. The perception from this contract is that D'Arcy and DWP don't give a damn about the people of Los Angeles.

The City's water infrastructure is crumbling, with many well-publicized water main breaks in recent months. The power grid is also aging with blackouts occuring much more frequently. Is adding up to 16% to IBEW's workers wages going to fix the problem? It is likely that, as it has in the past, money soreley needed for equipment upgrades will be diverted to wages. Hence, there will be less people to do the rebuilding and less money to buy the eqipment with. Or, more likely, they will be back at the PUC asking for another rate hike claiming it is needed for infrastructure repair. If DWP management and the City Council thinks that is sustainable, maybe it is time to get rid of them all.

I am so tired of hearing people complain about the LADWP. The rates for LADWP are still lower then Edison. The capitalist system, that our great country is based on, encourages businesses to take care of their employees. The unions exist to take care of it's members. This is our system in action. The City of Los Angeles is in financial trouble due to mis management. So, do we punish the people who managed well?

I work for DWP and have an example of "jaws of death"... a couple of Linemen working on a high voltage circuit, restoring it back to its "normal" configuration. A small, but vital, piece of equipment fails and a piece of wire, energized at 4,800 volts, swings down over a parked car and dangles about 12' above the sidewalk. Thanks to experience and quick actions the situation was made safe in a matter of seconds. Does this sound like a work environment you'd like to experience?
Please... I have work on a more dangerous job and pay is half as much without benefits. If you want to trade. Welcome.

It is funny how all the whiners who do not actually work for DWP are the ones who are complaining and yet, they all want a job with DWP. They are clueless on the whole issue. As many have stated below, DWP is a separate and independent department that actually makes money for the city just like the Airport and the Harbor departments (yes they also received their cost of living raises).Taxes do not fund DWP, rate payers do.

The article failed to mention that the 3.25% raise is a "Cost Of Living Allowance" (c.o.l.a.) already ready due to employees from the last contract signed in 2005. The current agreement extends the current contract for four more years with a c.o.l.a. between 2 & 4 %. Less than the 6% that they were originally seeking with a totally new contract.

So if your complaining about your DWP and other rates (i.e. trash), then shut up and move out of the city limits. You will end up paying more for your utilities with So Cal Edison. In addition, if you think they are overpaid just because your sorry job pays you a low rate did and not give you a raise, go apply with DWP and see if you qualify. If you do not, go to school and learn a trade that will qualify you. Stop complaining about DWP just because your job sucks. If it is that bad and you really want a raise, organize and unionize for better pay and benefits. Otherwise, quit complaining and/or get a better job. In the mean time, shut the Hell up.

i can tell why los angeles time news paper sales are down you only post whats good for the unions and special interest of city hall not whats good for the taxpeyers and rate payers what a let down no wonder the wall st is taking los angeles times lunch in sales , i gest la times is in the pay to play city hall pay roll

Most people get it wrong here and L.A Times shame on you...!!for failing to explain situation in details.

DWP deal save city of L.A Big time..and on top that DWP provides 200Million dollars to the city to balance the budget.

Guys DWP doesn't collect trash..ok...!!I don't want to explain more,please i refer you to
read JOhn brown poster..ok go now and read Moran..!!

Check the rates SCE is higher than SCE

some CAL OSHA person named Hal is going to see if I can't get wrote up for breaking safety rules...

only thing misread in the tail gate was the condition of the butt, which sounded good, and I bought it as good... but...(pun for butt) turns out it wasn't in the ground very far. The apartment developer excavated to make more parking... who knew? I'll take the blame for neglecting that. Darn thing was well diguised with that disgusting green vines stuff that attract rat habitat...

It's an important safety rule and the only one I think could have been feasibly part of this episode. The pole was secured easily by a swift young lineman after my apprentice tied us off. Disaster discovered and quickly rectified.

Bring it Cal OSHA, tell me what rule there is that brings me to suspect someone hired Pedro and his two brothers Hose A and Hose B to dig all the dirt away from the power pole as to make it as though it were simply standing upon the top of the ground and not even buried?

Yeah, go ahead... farm us out. Maybe you'll get Edison guys over here on the West Side here to help. They shut it all off. Just to work on it. I'd avoid elevators 'n stuff if we go there...

That's Great. While other city employees get furloughs. Living paycheck to paycheck. DWP salaries soar. The Mayor takes credit for accomplishments. But he screws the DOT engineers that make him look good. There is a 25-30% difference in salaries between DWP and DOT engineers. With no light in sight. DOT engineers face longer furloughs, layoffs and no cost of living raises for years to come. Why doesn't the mayor do a dam thing?

cuz DOT engineers are more easily to come by compared to us with the capes...

no wait, come on Hal...

It's a set of pole climbing gaffs or "hooks" and your "belt"...


" I have work on a more dangerous job and pay is half as much without benefits. If you want to trade. Welcome."

Well J.O., Power Lineman is in the top 5 of most dangerous jobs.
You are either here illegally or not very intelligent. Don't be angry
with us because we make more, be angry because you don't. Find
a better job, or get a great job with DWP, just stop being jealous.

Sleazy politicians advance their careers by giving our tax/water bill money to unions.

From now on, we need to vote against every candidate endorsed by a public employee union.

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