Hold on to your wallets, good folks of Glendale, union boss Brian D’Arcy of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 wants to pick your pockets.
If you think the piddling water rate hikes of 12% spread out over four years that were approved by the City Council last week were bad, consider this: D’Arcy virtually runs the L.A. Department of Water and Power, no matter who is the general manager, and has been getting IBEW members raises of 3% to 6% every year for the last seven years — even when cops and other workers are getting nothing.
That has a lot to do with why the L.A. Department of Water and Power rates have been skyrocketing and officials are seeking as much as 15% increases overall for each of the next three years in Los Angeles.
It didn’t just start. It has been going on for years, to the point L.A. utility workers — all 11,000 of them — average $96,805 each, which is nearly $30,000 more than other L.A. city workers, according to a recent Bloomberg News story.
L.A. Department of Water and Power carpenters were paid $102,732 on average; auto painters $109,192; cabinet makers $101,840; garage attendants $74,408; land-surveying assistants $123,333; air-conditioning mechanics $102,878, and audio-visual technicians $147,853.
When you look at the tough job of electric linemen, they get a salary of $113,796 — almost exactly what Burbank Water and Power linemen represented by the IBEW get, but $9,000 more a year than their Glendale counterparts, who are only now seeking to have D’Arcy and the IBEW represent them.
Last April, about 175 Glendale Water & Power workers broke with the main city employees union and signed up to join IBEW Local 18 in the belief that D’Arcy — the most powerful and feared union boss in Los Angeles — had won his members one lucrative contract after another, nearly 6% increases in some years, and given him significant control of the city’s utility and its policies.
Negotiations between Glendale and the IBEW have made little progress on the main issue — more money, a lot more money.